The Fall and Rise of America's Rivers
Daniel McCool not only chronicles the history of water development agencies in America and the way in which special interests have abused rather than preserved the country's rivers, he also narrates the second, brighter act in this ongoing story: the surging, grassroots movement to bring these rivers back to life and ensure they remain pristine for future generations.
The culmination of ten years of research and observation, McCool's book confirms the surprising news that America's rivers are indeed returning to a healthier, free-flowing condition. The politics of river restoration demonstrates how strong grassroots movements can challenge entrenched powers and win. Through passion and dedication, ordinary people are reclaiming the American landscape, forming a "river republic" of concerned citizens from all backgrounds and sectors of society. As McCool shows, the history, culture, and fate of America is tied to its rivers, and their restoration is a microcosm mirroring American beliefs, livelihoods, and an increasing awareness of what two hundred years of environmental degradation can do.
McCool profiles the individuals he calls "instigators," who initiated the fight for these waterways and, despite enormous odds, have succeeded in the near-impossible task of challenging and changing the status quo. Part I of the volume recounts the history of America's relationship to its rivers; part II describes how and why Americans "parted" them out, destroying their essence and diminishing their value; and part III shows how society can live in harmony with its waterways while restoring their well-being--and, by extension, the well-being of those who depend on them.
A broad, up-to-date, hopeful view of our nation's rivers.
McCool tempers the flow of statistics and environmental facts with liberal doses of wit and colorful anecdotes while offering a reassuring account of working-class citizens triumphing in a timely cause.
Written in an easy-to-read narrative style that is at times poetic, River Republic is also filled with facts and political analysis.
...R iver Republic is an easy read that raises important questions about politics, money, and development along U.S. rivers while providing vibrant accounts of restoration projects all across the country.
Daniel McCool has done a terrific job
well-researched and well-written...Highly recommended.
An authoritative exposé of the political economy of river management in the United States... An important book. River Republic offers essential lessons for entrenched water bureaucracy.
"Green River," by William Cullen Bryant
Map: Selected Sites
Part I: The Fall
1. Crumbling Edifice
2. Planters, Sawyers, and Snags: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
3. The Manless Land: The Bureau of Reclamation
Part II: Dismemberment
4. Handout Horticulture: Farming and the Feds
5. Falling Waters: Hydropower and Renewable Energy
6. Rivers Into Waterways: Barging, Locks, and Dams
7. Black Water Rising: The Myth of Flood Control
8. Downstream Dilemma: Water Pollution
Part III: Resurrection
9. River City: Urban Riverscapes
10. Net Losses: Habitat and Endangered Species
11. Playground on the Move: River Recreation
12. The River Commons
Read the first chapter from River Republic (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner):
Runner-up - 2013 Green Book Festival in the Scientific category