Introduction & Chapter 1
• Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water begins with the author's description of the American West as "a civilization whose success was achieved on the pretension that natural obstacles do not exist" - or, as he calls it in the book’s Introduction, "A Semidesert with a Desert Heart."
• Reisner introduces the environmentalist agenda through which he explores the history of development in the West, following its major influences individually through time rather than chronologically.
• Chapter One, titled “A Country of Illusion,” describes the discovery of the American West by the Europeans.
• The first Spanish explorers searching for El Dorado found the continent hostile and unusable.
• After the United States purchased the land, they sent in survey expeditions to research and evaluate it.
• The 1804, Lewis and Clark expedition resulted in an uneasy ambivalence toward the West: every "fertile prairie" stood in stark contrast to...
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