Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Marc Reisner
Brooke Bakker put me onto this book a few months ago when we were visiting them down in the Central Valley and I was asking Kevin a lot of questions about irrigation. This book is a classic: written in the 80s and revised a decade later it still ranks in the top 20 for some book categories on Amazon. Reisner explores the conquering of the American West and the significant role water rights had – and still have – in the ability of civilization to thrive in an area that should be mostly a desert landscape. The book was particularly interesting for me as we live in California, amazing just how many dams exist on the rivers of this state (13 on the Stanislaus River alone!). Definitely more along the lines of “documentary-style” journalism so it took me a while to get through, but very absorbing all the same.
Publisher’s Weekly: In this stunning work of history and investigative journalism, Reisner tells the story of conflicts over water policy in the West and the resulting damage to the land, wildlife and Indians.