In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment?over federalism, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development.
Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution's roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina. And through encounters with experts all over the country?a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a western rancher fighting for water rights?Doyle reveals how we've dammed, raised, rerouted, channelized, and even 're-meandered" our rivers.
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“A vigorous look at American history through the nation’s waterways…Doyle speaks well to issues that are as pressing today as in the first years of the republic.”