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Water and American Government

The Reclamation Bureau, National Water Policy, and the West, 1902-1935

Donald J. Pisani (Author)

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Donald Pisani's history of perhaps the boldest economic and social program ever undertaken in the United States--to reclaim and cultivate vast areas of previously unusable land across the country—shows in fascinating detail how ambitious government programs fall prey to the power of local interest groups and the federal system of governance itself. What began as the underwriting of a variety of projects to create family farms and farming communities had become by the 1930s a massive public works and regional development program, with an emphasis on the urban as much as on the rural West.
List of Maps
Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Saving Lost Lives:
Irrigation and the Ideology of Homemaking

2. The Perils of Public Works:
Federal Reclamation, 1902–1909

3. Case Studies in Irrigation and Community:
Twin Falls and Rupert

4. An Administrative Morass:
Federal Reclamation, 1909–1917

5. Boom, Bust, and Boom:
Federal Reclamation, 1917–1935

6. Uneasy Allies:
The Reclamation Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs

7. Case Studies in Water and Power:
The Yakima and the Pima

8. Wiring the New West:
The Strange Career of Public Power

9. Gateway to the Hydraulic Age:
Water Politics, 1920–1935

10. Conclusion:

Retrospect and Significance
Illustrations follow page 000.
Donald J. Pisani is Merrick Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. His books include a previous history to which this one is a sequel, To Reclaim a Divided West (1992), as well as Water, Land, and Law in the West (1996) and From the Family Farm to Agribusiness (California, 1984).
"The author is a master in his field. No one until now has told so much of this story in a solidly researched, critical, and convincing fashion. This book will appeal not only to historians but also to political scientists, legal scholars, environmentalists, and others interested in public policy, federalism, and the politics of water in American society."—Norris Hundley, author of The Great Thirst: Californians and Water, a History

"A tour de force. It deals with a critical period in which commitments were made that profoundly influenced the nation's environment. In brief case studies [Pisani] puts a human face on events and places."—Martin Ridge, author of Writing the History of the American West and coauthor of Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier

Abel Wolman Award, Public Works Historical Society

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