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Building the Ultimate Dam: John S. Eastwood and the Control of Water in the West

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0700607167
ISBN-10: 0700607161
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Building the Ultimate Dam is a fresh, lucid, and original book about the interrelationship of technology, capitalism, and politics. Donald C. Jackson wisely treats technology as an expression of culture, arguing that there are no 'objective' dam designs predestined to triumph in the engineering marketplace. This is an important addition to the history of technology, engineering, and water--in the nation as well as the American West."--Donald J. Pisani, author of To Reclaim a Divided West: Water, Law, and Public Policy, 1848-1902

"As Jackson describes, final decisions on dam projects only came after intense, complex interplay among a few score professionals--engineers, businessmen, and bureaucrats--who operated on a level far removed from the general public. In all, a superb book that makes a major contribution to the field."--Norris Hundley, author of The Great Thirst: Californians and Water, 1770s-1990s

"A wonderfully researched and illustrated book that describes better than I have ever seen how consulting engineers work--the way plans are developed, dams built, and a clientele established."--Bruce Sinclair, author of A Centennial History of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

"Complementing standard studies like Donald Worster's Rivers of Empire and Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert, Jackson provides an intriguing study of how personal and social factors can override rational scientific analysis--and even market forces--to block the introduction of a seemingly superior technology."--Terry Reynolds, editor of The Engineer in America: A Historical Anthology from Technology and Culture

"This is a pioneering book which illustrates both the history of western water resources development and the more central role of engineering in the transformation of nature and society. . . . Jackson brings both the general reader and the engineer into close touch with the disappointments and exhilarations that always surround structural innovation in the modern world."--David P. Billington, author of The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering

About the Author

Donald C. Jackson is author of Great American Bridges and Dams and winner of the 1994 Ray A. Billington Award from the Western History Association for an article on the early history of the U.S. Reclamation Service. He teaches history at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania.


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Product Details

  • Series: Development of Western Resources
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700607161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700607167
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,186,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Donovan, Editor/Sr. Reviewer on April 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Most water control projects in this country rely on big gravity damns, but in the early 20th century one John S. Eastwood designed dams which minimized the amount of concrete involved. While his designs were less expensive, he faced much opposition from engineers and politicians alike who believed their more fragile appearance would damage public confidence in their durability. Donald Jackson provide insights into dam building history and describes how in this case the illusion of stability strengthened by concrete won over Eastwood's innovative design plans. A 'must' for any collection strong in engineering, conservation, and energy generating issues.
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