One Round River: The Curse of Gold and the Fight for the Big Blackfoot

One Round River: The Curse of Gold and the Fight for the Big Blackfoot

by Richard Manning
     
 

So much of the tortured ecological history of the American West has been played out in microcosm along the banks of the Blackfoot River in western Montana. Generations of abuse - from logging, grazing, mining, and now overdevelopment - have left this once vibrant waterway choked and gasping. And today a new threat looms: a massive gold mine hard by the river's edge.… See more details below

Overview

So much of the tortured ecological history of the American West has been played out in microcosm along the banks of the Blackfoot River in western Montana. Generations of abuse - from logging, grazing, mining, and now overdevelopment - have left this once vibrant waterway choked and gasping. And today a new threat looms: a massive gold mine hard by the river's edge. Here is the biography of a river, and like the best of that genre, it resonates far beyond the life of its particular central character. In telling the river's story, Richard Manning takes us as far back as the Salish tribe, who first settled its valley, on through the years of nation building and the influx of new Americans migrating west, to the new settlers of the nineties - the well-monied urban refugees who bring with them their own brand of waste and destruction. He carefully and eloquently chronicles the successive waves of cattle, of axes and chain saws, of bulldozers and dynamite that have bled the life from the river. This is also the story of gold, the lust for which is now the driving force toward what may be the river's ultimate demise. Finally, Manning offers a ground-level view of the battle currently raging in Montana to stop the mine and save the Blackfoot.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Manning's book, a work of hard-hitting integrity, provides a passionate rendering of a river and its disputed worth."-Outside

Richard Wolkomir
This book is about humanity's perverse love of gold. It is also about population growth... it is about individuals...it is about consuming ourselves out of our home. -- Smithsonian Magazine
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Montana's Big Blackfoot River, celebrated in Norman Maclean's classic A River Runs Through It, is now threatened by logging and open-pit gold mining. In his latest book (after Grassland, a socio-biological history of the American prairie), Manning delivers a stirring, erudite eco-polemic that centers on the Blackfoot, which he knows intimately. Like eddies that reveal underlying currents, the writing here reveals more than just one river's potential demise, however. Manning uses the river and its mineral bounty to reflect back an image of our society as one in which we have lost our sense of life's essentials: "[Gold] is the symbol of excess and excess is what we need to learn to see.... That part of a house that is too big is gold, those extra shoes, gold." Evocatively written, referencing everything from Greek myths to Native American customs, his book repeatedly demonstrates the connections between mining, the boom-era individual newly "flush with cash" and environmental devastation. Manning makes no bones about his purpose: to lay bare gold mining's destruction of the earth so demand for the precious metal will subside. While his book, for all its passion, is unlikely to reach that goal, as Manning recounts the river's history and tells stories of how the Blackfoot has affected his life and those of others, readers cannot help but come away with a clearer picture of the larger circles in which we move and live. Rights (except electronic): Ellen Levine. (Jan.)
Booknews
From the settlement of the Salish tribe in its valley, to the current fight to prevent the Phelps Dodge Corporation and Canyon Resources of Colorado from operating a massive gold mine along its banks, this is an ecological biography of the Big Blackfoot River in Montana. With an avowed purpose of convincing his readers to never buy gold again, the author discusses the effects of successive generations of logging, mining, ranching, and suburban development on the ecology of the river, and warns that even greater dangers are facing it now. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805047929
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/15/1998
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.22(w) x 9.48(h) x 0.86(d)

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