Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition

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Penguin, Jun 1, 1993 - Technology & Engineering - 672 pages
"The definitive work on the West's water crisis." --Newsweek

The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--an Eden that may only be a mirage.

This edition includes a new postscript by Lawrie Mott, a former staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, that updates Western water issues over the last two decades, including the long-term impact of climate change and how the region can prepare for the future.

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User Review  - Steve_Walker - LibraryThing

A recent op-ed piece, by a NASA scientist, stated that California has only enough water to sustain the population for one year. In the mean time the drought goes on. In order to understand what led to the problem of water in the west, read this book. It is an eye-opener. Read full review

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User Review  - jonerthon - LibraryThing

What this actually is is a chronicle of the history of the Bureau of Reclamation, and the constant flouting of federal rules that its leaders allowed in the name of advantaging certain large ... Read full review


A Semidesert with a Desert Heart
A Country of Illusion
The Red Queen
First Causes
An American Nile I
The GoGo Years
Rivals in Crime
An American Nile II
The Peanut Farmer and the Pork Barrel
Those Who Refuse to Learn
Things Fall Apart
A Civilization if You Can Keep It

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About the author (1993)

Marc Reisner worked for many years at the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 1979, he received an Alicia J. Patterson Journalism Fellowship and began the research for Cadillac Desert. He was also the author of Game Wars: The Undercover Pursuit of Wildlife Poachers and A Dangerous Place: California's Unsettling Fate. Resisner died in 2000.

Lawrie Mott, formerly an environmental heath scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, lives in a Bay Area county that receives all its water from local supplies. From Marc Reisner, her late husband, she learned about water in the West at their dinner table and during long drives through western states. Mott received her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her M.S. from Yale.

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