Rivers in History (Hardcover)
Perspectives on Waterways in Europe and North America (Pittsburgh Hist Urban Environ)
University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822943457, 256pp.
Publication Date: July 22, 2008
Other Editions of This Title:
Rivers in History presents one of the first comparative histories of rivers on the continents of Europe and North America in the modern age. The contributors examine the impact of rivers on humans and, conversely, the impact of humans on rivers. They view this dynamic relationship through political, cultural, industrial, social, and ecological perspectives in national and transnational settings.
As integral sources of food and water, local and international transportation, recreation, and aesthetic beauty, rivers have dictated where cities have risen, and in times of flooding, drought, and war, where they've fallen. Modern Western civilizations have sought to control rivers by channeling them for irrigation, raising and lowering them in canal systems, and damming them for power generation.
Contributors analyze the regional, national, and international politicization of rivers, the use and treatment of waterways in urban versus rural environments, and the increasing role of international commissions in ecological and commercial legislation for the protection of river resources. Case studies include the Seine in Paris, the Mississippi, the Volga, the Rhine, and the rivers of Pittsburgh. Rivers in History is a broad environmental history of waterways that makes a major contribution to the study, preservation, and continued sustainability of rivers as vital lifelines of Western culture.
About the Author
Thomas Zeller is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Driving Germany: The Landscape of the German Autobahn, 1930-1970.
Praise For Rivers in History: Perspectives on Waterways in Europe and North America (Pittsburgh Hist Urban Environ)…
—Sierra Club Magazine
—Technology and Culture
“This collection of essays provides students of rivers with a valuable tool for understanding how socioeconomic and environmental conditions in the U.S. and Europe during the past three centuries have influenced changing attitudes toward rivers. By exploring how different societies have regarded and altered rivers through history, we may gain greater insight into future choices in a world faced with severe water shortages.”
—Ellen Wohl, Colorado State University