Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.00
  • Save: $9.20 (34%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: EXCELLENT CONDITION!
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth (Creating the North American Landscape) Paperback – March 1, 2001


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$17.80
$10.81 $3.42
12%20Days%20of%20Deals%20in%20Books


Frequently Bought Together

The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth (Creating the North American Landscape) + Down By the Los Angeles River: Friends of the Los Angeles Rivers Official Guide + Southern California: An Island on the Land
Price for all three: $51.44

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Holiday Deals in Books
Holiday Deals in Books
Find deals for every reader in the Holiday Deals in Books store, featuring savings of up to 50% on cookbooks, children's books, literature & fiction, and more.

Product Details

  • Series: Creating the North American Landscape
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801866421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801866425
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Why is the historic center of Los Angeles located where it is, 15 miles from the ocean and 10 miles from the San Gabriel Mountains, on an arid plain? The answer is the Los Angeles River, which once flowed freely across that flat land. In his book, The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth, Blake Gumprecht points out that before the course of the river was paved, Hollywood and Beverly Hills were marshland and that in flood years, the river carried as much water as the Mississippi.

"The destruction of the river had begun half a century before the first concrete was poured," Gumprecht writes, "when the river ... began to be viewed not as a giver of life or a thing of beauty, but as a dumping ground--for horse carcasses, petroleum waste, and the city's garbage." The river, he adds, was also viewed as a mere vehicle for a commodity, water, and a vehicle that could be improved with the addition of channels, culverts, and reservoirs. Such changes made the wide-scale development of the Los Angeles region possible, but they destroyed the living river. Now, years later, environmental activists are pressing to restore the river to something of its former self--and their efforts, if successful, will again alter the course of regional history.

The Los Angeles River has figured widely in many ecological studies of Southern California; in historical work it has figured largely as a backdrop. Gumprecht grants the river close attention as a thing unto itself, one that has affected many other aspects of the area's social, economic, and environmental history. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

For those even aware that it exists, the Los Angeles River conjures up an image of a barren concrete channelAa place best suited for Hollywood car chases and gang brawls. There was a time, however, when the L.A. River, which runs from the San Fernando Valley into the Pacific, had an entirely different image, not to mention a different course. Before modern flood control programs fixed the river's path with high cement walls, it ran variously south and west, at one time emptying into the Santa Monica Bay. In this exhaustive and lively investigation, Gumprecht, a geography professor and former Los Angeles Times reporter, charts the waterway's evolution from a "beautiful stream, wandering peacefully amid willows and wild grapes" to the refuse-strewn, "ugly, concrete gutter" it is today. Gumprecht describes the crucial role that the river played in the settlement and growth of L.A.Aboth as a water source and as a symbol of the region's Arcadian promiseAand, conversely, how the river was remade in the image of the metropolis itself, becoming depleted and degraded by the very development it made possible. Like fellow L.A. historian Mike Davis, Gumprecht scatters an archive of startling photos throughout the book, from a man holding a 25-pound trout caught in the river in 1940 to the scene of a riverbed drag race broken up by the police in 1950. Conjuring images of Roman Polanski's Chinatown, Gumprecht's river "biography" breathes vitality into a subject that in the hands of a less enthusiastic author might be drier than the industrial wasteland that he describes.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 9 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a boy growing up in North Long Beach in the 1930s, I often camped out with my friends on the banks of the Los Angeles River. We would go skinny dipping, catch pollywogs and lizards, make willow whistles, and trudge through the oily sludge that lined the river bottom. We did not know that once the river flowed year-around crystal clear, teeming with fish and supporting a heavily wooded flood plain rich with swamps, lakes, and wildlife. My first surprise on reading the biography of this once-ample river was the fact that it supported one of the largest concentrations of natives in the country. The first Europeans who settled on its banks named their village after it. This book really tells three stories. The first is how the river contributed to the growth of agriculture during the first 100 years of European settlement, creating a lasting image of fertile vinyards and orchards in the sunshine. After the railroad came, the needs for water grew so rapidly they pumped the river dry and built an aqueduct to the Owens River in the north to supply their needs. The second story is about the river's revenge and the periodic devastation it caused by flooding. Time after time, the river, swollen by storms in the San Gabriel Mountains, would smash through its levies, carry off whole houses, factories, herds of cattle, orchards and vinyards, destroy roads, bridges, cemeteries, and towns, putting the whole county under water. It was not until the late 1930s that an earnest attempt was made to tame the river with a system of dams, catchment basins, and pavement. The third story is about the recent attempts to restore the river to its natural state, an exercise about which the author is skeptical. Blake Gumprecht has given us a splendid book that again shows us how much geology, climate, and topography affect how we live and think of ourselves as a people.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "littleghost" on December 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This fascinating book is packed with information about the history of Los Angeles. Not many present-day Angelenos would know that the location for the city was chosen because of the once-abundant flow of the Rio de Porciuncula, or Los Angeles River. Blake Gumprecht pulls an amazing feat in researching the River's many incarnations alongside the history of the growth of Los Angeles. In addition to providing detailed reports of the River's former courses, and devastating accounts of some of the River's infamous catastrophic floods, Mr. Gumprecht explains the River's role in shaping the course of Los Angeles city politics in greater detail than any previous study.
Once an ample stream that sustained all of the city's water needs for over 100 years, the Los Angeles River was then pumped dry, smothered in concrete, and almost pushed out of the city's consciousness. Incredible photographs appear throughout the book; many of these photos will make nature-loving Angelenos yearn for the Los Angeles River of yesteryear, with its bubbling, meandering stream, and its banks lined with willows and sycamores.
Long before you approach the end of this book, you realize that, in an over-zealous attempt to control flooding, the Los Angeles River was essentially raped, depleted, and buried. The fact that, at present, most of its 51 miles are cement is a shame -- especially in a city with so little park space. Amazingly, the River still provides up to 15% of L.A.'s drinking water, albeit from subterannean pumps that tap the River's flow before it ever reaches the surface. And millions of gallons of River water were diverted to the Silver Lake reservoir.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you've ever wondered why Los Angeles is in the middle of a desert (hint: it wasn't always), what the river looked like before there was a city, and why the river was buried in concrete, this is the book. An excellent description of the origins of the river and the city, with insights into the modern revitalization movement.
Among the things I learned:
--The river starts in the San Fernando Valley, but the city of Los Angeles has claimed the water as its own since at least 1810, a claim eventually known as the Pueblo Water Right.
--Not all of those concrete beds in L.A. are technically the L.A. river, which starts along the south edge of the San Fernando Valley, dodges a number of movie studios, and makes a right turn through downtown before heading for the Pacific. The others are creeks and washes that feed (fed) the river.
--The area's light rainfall was sufficient to keep the river flowing year-round until suburbia took over. Concrete and asphalt reduced the water that soaked into the ground to be released slowly into the river. Now, the primary source of flowing river water is the what's been reclaimed from sewage treatment plants.
Worth the read for all Angelenos or anyone who is interested in Los Angeles.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Z. William Arkosy on February 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Reading this book was an assignement for a geography course I was taking in college. My first thoughts were "A book on the L.A. River? How can they write an entire book on a river that flows a couple of days per year?" My indifference to the subject was quickly dismissed after the first few pages. This book is very insightful! It gives a detailed history on L.A., from it's foundation as a tiny pueblo to the sprawling metropolis it is today, with the river & water in Southern California being the central themes. I always wondered why L.A. was built in the area it's in & Mr. Gumprecht answers that in fine detail along with many other interesting facts regarding the annexation of neighboring cities, water rights, deadly floods and ultimately the concrete channel built to contain this unpredictable river.

Whoever is interested in the histroy of this region will no doubt greatly enjoy this superb book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?