The Source: Book summary and reviews of The Source by Martin Doyle

The Source

How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers

by Martin Doyle

The Source by Martin Doyle X
The Source by Martin Doyle

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Book Summary

How rivers have shaped American politics, economics, and society from the beginnings of the Republic to today.

In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment - over federalism, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development. Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution's roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina. And through encounters with experts all over the country - a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a western rancher fighting for water rights - Doyle reveals how we've dammed, raised, rerouted, channelized, and even "re-meandered" our rivers.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Doyle, professor of river science and policy at Duke University, pays tribute to America 's waterways in this worthy history, noting their importance to the country's development and its basic identity." - Publishers Weekly

"A vigorous look at American history through the nation's waterways. ... Doyle speaks well to issues that are as pressing today as in the first years of the republic." - Kirkus

"The Source is one of those rare books you look up from and see with fresh eyes. Martin Doyle takes us on an epic national and historical river trip to remind us that America's watercourses are one of our original entry points to the continent, that we are by now engaged with them in an almost bewildering litany of ways, and that we should never get so wrapped around modern life that we forget this truth: we are still river rats." - Dan Flores, best-selling author of Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History

"If you want to understand politics, follow the money. But if you want to understand the myriad ways in which land shapes society and society reshapes the land, follow the rivers. That's what Martin Doyle has done in The Source, and the result is a penetrating and gracefully written portrait of Americans' restless relationship with their sublimely beautiful continent." - William deBuys, author of The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures

"Brilliantly conceived, The Source is a unique synthesis that recasts American history and flows with the power of unexpected insight." - David R. Montgomery, author of Growing A Revolution

"Just like its topic, The Source flows magnificently from end to end, carving out a story that spans a continent and several centuries ... I learned something new on every page and enjoyed it the entire time." - Michael E. Webber, author of Thirst for Power

"In an intellectual tour de force, he pulls together history, science, economics and law to show how rivers have served as the arteries and veins of the United States since the country's very founding. It is a rich history both impressive and unsettling." - James Salzman, author of Drinking Water: A History

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Author Information

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle is director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and a professor of river science and policy at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. He lives in North Carolina.

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