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Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River
     

Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River

by William Dietrich
 

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"Dietrich's measures, thoughtful book views the Columbia through a successoin of different lenses--as a bountiful fishery for the Indians, as a snag-ridden and nearly impassable highway for the early white explorers, as a hugely powerful manufacturer of hydroelectricity, as a source of irrigation for farmers, as the town drain for the mining and nuclear weapons

Overview


"Dietrich's measures, thoughtful book views the Columbia through a successoin of different lenses--as a bountiful fishery for the Indians, as a snag-ridden and nearly impassable highway for the early white explorers, as a hugely powerful manufacturer of hydroelectricity, as a source of irrigation for farmers, as the town drain for the mining and nuclear weapons industries. His Columbia is really a woven braid of the many rivers of the fisherman, the farmer, the engineer, the towboat operator, the explorer, the industrialist." -Jonathan Raban, author of Old Glory

"A wonderful, disturbing and though-provoking history of the Columbia River, Northwest Passage is a remarkable book, first of all in its scope and complexity. Here is a fine blend of natural history, of human history, and of political history." -Washington Post Book World

"An engaging case study of a whole bundle of environmental and social issues (pollution, hydropower politics, Indian rights, resource economics) that should matter to people all over the country." -New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Washington's mighty Columbia River has been transformed in 60 years from an unruly river into a series of placid pools; it is the most heavily dammed river in the world, and the greatest producer of hydroelectricity. Dietrich (The Final Forest), Pulitzer prize-winning science reporter for the Seattle Times, looks at the Columbia as a whole-its history, geology, biology, hydrology, economics, contemporary politics and management. The report is disturbing and compelling. Wild salmon stocks have nearly disappeared; there are competing demands on the river for power, irrigation and fish. Dietrich charges that no single agency is in charge of measuring pollution or maintaining the health of the river. Conceding that dams are of undeniable benefit, producing energy, food, navigation and flood control, he notes that few would pass environmental and economic review today. This comprehensive survey of the Columbia ecosystem points out the social and environmental costs of engineering marvels. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Dietrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Seattle Times and author of The Final Forest (LJ 5/1/92), here covers a wealth of information and personal histories. Once supporting the greatest chinook salmon and steelhead trout runs in the world and one of the most complex native cultures on the continent, the Columbia has been transformed into a series of computer-controlled reservoirs virtually devoid of fish, designed to maximize hydroelectric production. While Dietrich has done a good job of examining the history, current conditions, and problems confronting the river from a variety of viewpoints, the organization of his text seems erratic at times. A well-researched chronology of the river is included. Recommended for all regional, as well as subject and history collections, in secondary school libraries and above.-Tim Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, Wash.
Booknews
Activists, practitioners, and researchers review the development of the battered women's movement and discuss what interventions may be possible in the future. The 13 essays consider enhancing informal responses to domestic violence, wife abuse among Arabs in Israel, the role of context, controversy and change in batterers' programs, sanctions beyond jailing and counseling, couple therapy, and other topics. Paper edition (unseen), $19,95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Washington Post Book World

A wonderful, disturbing, and thought-provoking history of the Columbia River, Northwest Passage is a remarkable book, first of all in its scope and complexity. Here is a fine blend of natural history, of human history, and of political history.

New York Times Book Review

An engaging case study of a whole bundle of environmental and social issues (pollution, hydropower politics, Indian rights, resource economics) that should matter to people all over the country.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295975467
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
07/28/1996
Edition description:
1st University of Washington Press ed
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Jonathan Raban

Dietrich’s measured, thoughtful book views the Columbia through a succession of different lenses—as a bountiful fishery for the Indians, as a snag-ridden and nearly impassable highway for the early white explorers, as a hugely powerful manufacturer of hydroelectricity, as a source of irrigation for farmers, as the town drain for the mining and nuclear weapons industries. His Columbia is really a woven braid of the many rivers of the fisherman, the farmer, the engineer, the towboat operator, the explorer, the industrialist.

Meet the Author

William Dietrich, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for his coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, is the author of Natural Grace: The Charm, Wonder, and Lessons of Pacific Northwest Animals and Plants, The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks, and the Pacific Northwest, and popular fiction.

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