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River Republic

The Fall and Rise of America's Rivers

River Republic by Daniel McCool
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Daniel McCool not only chronicles the history of water development agencies in America and the way in which special interests have abused rather than preserved the country’s rivers. He also narrates the second, brighter act in this ongoing story: the surging, grassroots movement to bring these rivers back to life and ensure they remain pristine for future generations.

The culmination of ten years of research and observation, McCool’s book confirms the surprising news that America’s rivers are indeed returning to a healthier, free-flowing condition. The politics of river restoration have also brought democratic grassroots activism back to its meaningful roots. Through passion and dedication, ordinary people have reclaimed the American landscape, forming a ?river republic” of concerned citizens from all backgrounds and sectors of society. As McCool shows, the history, culture, and fate of America is tied to its rivers, and their restoration is a microcosm mirroring American beliefs, livelihoods, and an increasing awareness of what two hundred years of environmental degradation can do. McCool profiles the individuals he calls ?instigators” who initiated the fight for these waterways and, despite enormous odds, have succeeded in the near-impossible task of challenging and changing the status quo. Part I recounts the history of America’s relationship to its rivers; part II describes how and why Americans ?parted” them out, destroying their essence and diminishing their value; and part III proves society can live in harmony with its waterways and restore their well-being?and, by extension, the well-being of those who depend on them.
Columbia University Press; June 2012
400 pages; ISBN 9780231504416
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Title: River Republic
Author: Daniel McCool
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