Book Description

Review A dramatic saga of ambition, politics, money and betrayal. -- LA Daily NewsA fascinating history. -- NewsweekAn arresting biography . . . gripping reading. -- Publisher's Weekly --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition. Read more From the Publisher West of the one hundredth meridian, moreover, this process of city-building through water-engineering remains an experiment curiously uncertain, given the millions and millions of Americans who today occupy these aqueduct cities. How long can such cities in the desert last, historians of cities, water, and engineering have begun to ask? And what have been the trade-offs and the costs? The asking of such questions must begin and end with Los Angeles. Hence the importance of the story of how Los Angeles invented itself through water engineering and the role played in that act of willful self actualization by William Mulholland. Beyond any other twentieth-century Los Angeleno, this self-taught engineer deserves the accolade and title Founder of the City. LikeLos Angeles itself, William Mulholland was at once the great and flawed product of his own imagination and will. Through self-study, he brought himself into being as an Engineer, and through engineering he played a pivotal, almost mythical, role in bringing modern Los Angeles into existence. In this splendid biography, Margaret Leslie Davis chronicles the fortunes and misfortunes ofthis titanic figure. As the first comprehensive biography of Mulholland, Rivers in the Desert is a welcomed contribution to the historiography of Los Angeles, to California history, and to the larger history of the nation. Rivers in the Desert also offers a case study of importance not only to Los Angeles, but to all cities in the American West as well that are based upon a vast scheme of water engineering. Ours is a civilization of triumphs and limits. Rivers in the Desert chronicles the light and the dark of city-building and, in so doing, offers valuable insights into the past, present, and possible future of all aqueduct-based cities in the arid, semi-arid, and ever-resistant American West. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition. Read more See all Editorial Reviews