• A River Lost: Life and Death of the Columbia See large image

    A River Lost: Life and Death of the Columbia (Paperback) By (author) Blaine Harden

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    DescriptionThis is a book about how well-intentioned Americans dammed up the Columbia, "Great River of the West, " fulfilling dreams of cheap electricity and gardens flourishing in the desert. It is also a narrative of exploitation: of Native Americans, of endangered salmon, of nuclear waste, and of a river - once wild - tamed to puddled remains. Harden's story is a journey of rediscovery. His home town, Moses Lake, Washington, once bone dry, could not have existed without gargantuan irrigation schemes. His father, a Depression migrant trained as a welder, helped build dams - including Grand Coulee - and later worked at the secret Hanford plutonium plant. Now he and his neighbors, who had thought of themselves as patriots, stood accused of killing the river. As Blaine Harden traveled the thousand miles of the Columbia - by barge, by car, and sometimes on foot - his own past seemed both foreign and familiar. He met rugged individualists (albeit with government subsidies), fervent environmentalists, and Native Americans reduced to consuming canned salmon. He also encountered a newly ascendant political force whose more subtle agenda was to preserve and conserve for its own pleasure and recreation.


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  • Full bibliographic data for A River Lost

    Title
    A River Lost
    Subtitle
    Life and Death of the Columbia
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Blaine Harden
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 272
    Width: 139 mm
    Height: 208 mm
    Thickness: 18 mm
    Weight: 299 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780393316902
    ISBN 10: 0393316904
    Classifications

    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KBB
    B&T Merchandise Category: GEN
    B&T Book Type: NF
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.6
    BIC subject category V2: HBTB
    BIC E4L: HIS
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    BIC subject category V2: RNP
    B&T General Subject: 560
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 24270
    BIC subject category V2: RNF
    Ingram Theme: CULT/WESTRN, CHRN/20CNTY
    BISAC V2.8: NAT029000
    Ingram Subject Code: NA
    Libri: I-NA
    Ingram Theme: CULT/PACFNW
    LC classification: QH
    BISAC V2.8: NAT024000
    Abridged Dewey: 551
    BISAC V2.8: NAT038000, BUS054000
    DC22: 333.91
    B&T Approval Code: A16504040
    LC subject heading: , , ,
    DC21: 333.91621509797
    Thema V1.0: WNW, KFFR, RNF, RBKF
    Edition
    New edition
    Edition statement
    New edition
    Publisher
    WW Norton & Co
    Imprint name
    WW Norton & Co
    Publication date
    04 March 1998
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Review quote
    Harden's bold and well-supported commentary is a welcome addition to the literature of the majestic river. "
    Review text
    Joining the recent stream of books on the Columbia River is this hard-hitting report on the policies that have governed this most engineered of all American rivers. As the son of a worker who helped build the Grand Coulee Dam and later worked at the Hanford nuclear site, Washington Post correspondent Harden (Africa, 1990) easily elicits candid opinions from the bargemen, farmers, and nuclear engineers who owe their prosperity to the federal government for erecting dams and supplying cheap, subsidized irrigation water and electricity. The "managed oasis life" came at great cost to the wild salmon of the river and to the Native Americans who based their culture on the Chinook and other species that were all but eradicated by the behemoth dams along the Columbia-Snake river system. Harden's informants on the dry, eastern side of Washington's Cascade Range invariably castigate environmentalists and city dwellers on the western side for their support of reservoir "drawdowns," which would help speed migrating salmon to the ocean but bring seasonal halts to navigation and lowered electrical generation. Harden talks to former engineers who worked at Hanford building the atomic bomb, now consultants in a massive, costly clean-up effort at the plant, who minimize the consequences to the land and its residents who lived downwind. While respectful of the hardworking farmers he interviews, Harden lacks sympathy with their complaints against impending government policies that would alter their subsidized lifestyle. He labels their faith in the Columbia River Project "irrigation theology": "The orthodoxy of the Project teaches that subsidies are freedom, salmon are frivolous, Indians are suspect, and rivers are fuel for sprinklers." Until the ascendancy of the Republican Congress, the river seemed about to benefit from Clinton administration policies that would once more permit an annual salmon migration. Although much of the story has already been written elsewhere, Harden's bold and well-supported commentary is a welcome addition to the literature of this majestic river. (Kirkus Reviews)