- Paperback: 800 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; First edition (May 7, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780520224568
- ISBN-13: 978-0520224568
- ASIN: 0520224566
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great Thirst: Californians and Water-A History, Revised Edition Paperback – May 7, 2001
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"The definitive history of how water has been used and abused in California [and] required reading for anyone who really cares about California's most precious resource."--"Los Angeles Times
From the Inside Flap
"The best reference on California water history that there is."―William Kahrl, author of Water and Power
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To give you a feel for the detailed scope of the work, the author includes over 100 pages of notes to supplement the text, and a bibliography of nearly the same length! I have yet to find anything the matches The Great Thirst in its unbiased depiction of the complex history, water policies, competing interests, and future challenges that have and will come to shape California.
The author, an American History professor at UCLA, presents the reader with the single most important fact facing California, "Californian's are currently using more water than well be available on a long-term basis. The deficit is 1.6 million acre-feet annually, which can rise to more than 5.1 million acre-feet during drought years..." The public appetite for new water development has come to a halt given the high cost to state budgets and more importantly the surrounding landscape. But the growth of development and population continues marching on, leaving you to wonder how the final chapter of this important story will be written.
Recommended if you are a pedant or just like more raw unfiltered data.
I do not mind an author's biases creeping in his writing but then he should be able to carry if off with readers who dont disagree with him. For example, I read Reisner's Cadillac Desert which is a totally biased commentary on California's water and I rarely agreed with his viewpoint, but he puts it in such an interesting manner that it makes good reading nevertheless and I loved that book. The author of this book not only makes preposterous statements (for example, saying that the Indian inhabitants of America lived lives in harmony in nature because they were wiser than us) but makes them without constructing a strong intellectual platform that might engage someone who thinks differently.
Any new information the book provides is lost in the lengthy and tedious literary style that the author adopts. I am a fairly keen reader, and I must say that I dozed off reading this book more often than with others of this genre.