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The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth (Creating the North American Landscape (Paperback)) Paperback – March 1, 2001
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"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
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
Whoever is interested in the histroy of this region will no doubt greatly enjoy this superb book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Must read book. There are few others with quite as much comprehensive details about the different life stages of the LA River.Published on March 9, 2014 by blue_skies322
author describes the evolution of water management in the LA area from the early small canals through the rape of the Owens Valley and the effect of the Los Angeles River - great... Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by aftom
Another one that I needed for my project. Again arrived in great condition and in plenty of time. thanks.Published on October 18, 2009 by Daryol R. Forinash
Gumprecht's _Los Angeles River_ is a well-written history of the Los Angeles River, from Native American and Spanish/Mexican pueblo days to the present. Read morePublished on June 28, 2008 by Charles P. Hobbs