Rivers in the Desert: The Rise and Fall of William Mulholland

Rivers in the Desert: The Rise and Fall of William Mulholland

by Margaret Leslie Davis

Editorial Reviews

Mary Carroll
In the annals of city building, there are few stories more compelling than arid Southern California's eternal search for water. Attorney Davis retells critical stages of this continuing saga in her life of Mulholland, the powerful bureaucrat who reshaped geography and redefined the future of his region. Mulholland's life contains the elements of classical tragedy, from stupendous success--the 1913 opening of the mammoth Los Angeles Aqueduct, bringing Owens River water 250 miles southwest to Los Angeles, and permitting the city's spectacular growth--to utter failure: the devastating collapse of the St. Francis Dam in 1928. Davis addresses some of the more controversial issues of Los Angeles' water wars, including the huge profits city leaders made by speculating in San Fernando Valley real estate, and the possibility that the St. Francis Dam was dynamited by Owens Valley terrorists, but her focus on Mulholland and his direct associates leaves some interesting aspects of the era relatively unexplored. Still, "Rivers in the Desert" offers a fascinating look at the political maneuvering and engineering marvels that moved the City of the Angels into the first rank of American cities.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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