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Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its…
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Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water (1986)

by Marc Reisner

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This book is really important and interesting , going over the history of the West, in particular the history of irrigation , aqueducts and water projects in the West . However, it's so depressing that I only made it halfway through the book. Greed, Manifest Destiny, and wishful thinking based on greed... ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
This book is really important and interesting , going over the history of the West, in particular the history of irrigation , aqueducts and water projects in the West . However, it's so depressing that I only made it halfway through the book. Greed, Manifest Destiny, and wishful thinking based on greed... ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
It's funny that a book all about water could be so dry. Marc Reisner has written a tome on water rights in the American West with his book "Cadillac Desert: The American West and its disappearing water" that is overly long. Reisner somehow made John Wesley Powell seem boring, which is absolutely crazy because I love a good Powell story.

Reisner actually has some great information packed into this book, but he tends to explore every little detail of every single situation... after a while I ended up just skimming most of the book. I probably would have enjoyed reading an edited, more streamlined version of this book. ( )
  amerynth | Sep 15, 2018 |
Didn't finish. Very interesting to learn about the founding of Los Angeles as well as the creation of water, but the "characters" and dramas were so hard to keep track of - I'm going to blame that on the writing. Also he had essentially no citations which I found annoying. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
What an eye-opening and distressful book. Reisner has thoroughly researched the various projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, the Interior Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Reclamation, and others - so many departments to control so much land. What he discovered is the unbelievable amount of in-fighting and the phenomenal amount of waste and destruction as a result sheer number of dams that have been erected - literally hundreds and hundreds of them affecting every major watershed in our country. He compares the slow time to construction today with 1936 when the four largest concrete dams ever built were built at the same time: Hoover, Shasta, Bonneville and Grand Coulee. The amount of corruption that pervaded these agencies is mind-boggling, even to the most pessimistic of us. The wanton destruction of Indian land is horrific with entire reservations being drowned for the benefit of white farmers on the surrounding lands. We still see these agencies doing the same thing today in the Dakotas, but for gas and oil.
It is clear from the title that so much of the far western lands are geologically deserts that we have spent billions converting to habitable land - but the water is running out, and in the end nature will win, and these deserts will take back the land, and we will have problems of epic proportions because of the shortage of water. This is becoming more and more evident. If you want to understand why water is the next gold, and why the next civil wars will be fought in the courts and on the lands, over water rights, read this book. ( )
  bjtimm | Nov 8, 2016 |
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For Konrad and Else Reisner
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INTRODUCTION: A Semidesert with a Desert Hear

One late November night in 1980 I was flying over the state of Utah on my way back from California.
CHAPTER ONE: A Country of Illusion

The American West was explored by white men half a century before the first colonists set foot on Virginia's beaches, but it went virtually uninhabited by whites for another three hundred years.
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A civilization, if you can keep it.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140178244, Paperback)

The definitive history of water resources in the American West, and a very illuminating lesson in the political economy of limited resources anywhere. Highly recommended!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:28 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This history of water rights in the American West focuses on the political corruption and intrigue, including the rivalry between the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.s. Army Corps of Engineers.

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