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A View of the River Paperback – February 13, 2006
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The strength of this book is the force of intellect and experience Leopold brings to his subject. His writing style is clear, his explanations lucid, the coverage comprehensive. This is an extremely personal, almost autobiographical book―it is certainly not a dry, equation-filled treatise. It ranks with the best of John McPhee, but in this book the scientist speaks in his own voice. I recommend it highly. (Edwin E. Herricks, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Leopold is one of the most creative scholars in the field of river morphology in the last fifty years. A View of the River is the synthesis of a lifetime's work by Leopold and his colleagues. There is nothing like it. (M. Gordon Wolman, Johns Hopkins University)
This book fills an important gap between popular writing and scientific texts at a time when public awareness about natural resource issues, especially those relating to water, is rising. Students in hydrology and ecology, natural resource managers at local and national levels, scientists in collaborative fields, and non-scientists curious about the world around them should find A View of the River instructive, relevant, and interesting reading. (Jay L. Taft, Harvard University)
Luna Leopold is responsible for perhaps the most important research on rivers over the past 50 years. In this very personal book he reflects upon that experience, providing insights that go far beyond mere research results. (Vic Baker Science 1994-11-25)
About the Author
Luna B. Leopold was Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of California, Berkeley. Former Chief Hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and winner of the National Medal of Science, he was one of the world’s leading authorities on river hydraulics and geomorphology.
Top customer reviews
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For students of hydrology and morphology this book could be a primer, or, I suspect, it contains important insights for expert readers too. I am just a student of river projects, and make no claim to any specialist knowledge, but the text is accessible throughout. You don't have to be a scientist to get a lot out of this. It is a kind of exemplar too, because Leopold presents his findings eloquently, clearly, in plain English, and with plenty of illustrations. If you are a scientist I suggest you buy it, if you are an engineer I am not so sure.
I must give you some examples of Leopold's knowledge, experience and vision. Hydro engineers will appreciate the value of complete records kept over an extended period of time; the question is always about that minimum flow in years of drought. In Chapter Two, River Measurement, Leopold is discussing the network of gaging stations: "The matter is complicated and will not be treated in detail here. But it is important to realize that many river gaging stations are so affected by the works of man that they do not provide a representation of the hydrology of the river basin". A few pages further in Leopold reveals himself as a very practical man, shunning the black art: "The easiest way to measure velocity is by floats, and the best float is an orange peel. It has just the right specific gravity to float nicely at the surface, it is brightly colored and thus easily seen, and it is readily available". Later, near to the end, Leopold has possibly found some naturally occurring herbs: "The longitudinal profile of a river is concave to the sky".
I am glad to have bought my copy of A View of the River. I dip into it when I'm in a dreamy mood, and every time I gain some small insight which seems valuable. It is not a thick book, but the text is reasonably dense, such that there is a lot of knowledge contained in just 298 pages.