Read Dam Nation: How Water Shaped the West and Will Determine Its Future by Stephen Grace Free Online
Book Title: Dam Nation: How Water Shaped the West and Will Determine Its Future|
Date of issue: June 5th 2012
ISBN 13: 9780762770656
The author of the book: Stephen Grace
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 673 KB
Edition: Globe Pequot
Read full description of the books Dam Nation: How Water Shaped the West and Will Determine Its Future:Overall Assessment: Return To Sender
Interestingly enough, Dam Nation is quite readable. So why the Return to Sender assessment? Well there are two essential reasons.
The first reason is that Dam Nation provides no real new insights or information over what Marc Reisner provided in Cadillac Desert The American West and Its Disappearing Water which was published some 26 years previously. Granted Stephen Grace does weave in climate change, but the stories told remain essentially the same. So in this case Dam Nation is pretty much redundant.
Second, and more seriously, Dam Nation's analysis is a complete mess populated with straw men and riddled with inconsistencies. All farmers with access to public water are big and rich. All corporations are greedy short-sighted land rapers. All things natural are sublime and painted in a golden light. What about a little nuance? (Occasionally Grace allows for a little nuance like allowing the fact that removing water subsidies might hurt small farmers - but wait - I thought all farmers were big and rich. Oh well)
Worse are the inconsistencies and just fuzzy thinking. Stephen Grace ridicules early Colorado river flow estimates because they were based on a mere 20 years extrapolation while implicitly accepting the weather patterns of the past 20 years as 1) normal and 2) representative of the future. Hmm. Different results true, but the intellectual basis is the same and just as flawed.
Likewise he ridicules the psuedo-science of the "Rain follows the plow" dictum that accompanied the settlement of the West while embracing global warming as incontrovertible truth. And finally his fundamental cure is more government oversight and control despite the fact that he has spent the entire book demonstrating that the current state of water affairs in the West is nothing else if not a political result. So tell me, if the state of Western water affairs is ultimately the result of politics, then more politics is the answer?
Stephen Grace is absolutely correct that the manner in which water is allocated, priced, consumed, and estimated in the West is both a mess and unsustainable. Unfortunately Dam Nation adds nothing to that essential truth that hasn't already been written and his proposed solutions are based on the same intellectual pillars that caused the mess in the first place.
Read information about the authorStephen Grace is the author of a novel and several nonfiction books. While caretaking a house where the poet T.S. Eliot lived, he studied novel writing with Stratis Haviaras, founding editor of Harvard Review. To publish a book about the historical cartography of Colorado, he worked with Library of Congress curators and with Vincent Virga, called "America's foremost picture editor." While researching a narrative nonfiction book about China, he sought out experiences as diverse as studying skyscrapers in Shanghai and trail running in Tibet. To write his most recent book, DAM NATION: HOW WATER SHAPED THE WEST AND WILL DETERMINE ITS FUTURE, he followed the flow of water across the topography of the West and charted currents throughout the region's history. He is currently at work on a book about the urban agriculture movement, which has led to him working on a trash truck in Denver and volunteering on an organic farm in Uganda.
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