Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water Criticism

Marc Reisner
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Except for an exceptional handful, reviewers of Cadillac Desert have been so persuaded by Reisner's work as to become unabashed acolytes of his position. This number of devotees has grown over time, as the book has remained immensely popular. Early reviewers, however, immediately compared the book with Rivers of Empire, by Donald Worster, and were more objective. The two works are both revisionist histories. Reisner's work was welcomed as a good enhancement of Worster's book; many critics, like Grace Lichtenstein in the Washington Post, say the work "is a highly partisan, wonderfully readable portrayal of the damming, diverting and dirtying of Western rivers."

Dean E. Mann compares the two in some detail in his "Water and the American West." He notes that while Worster goes to great lengths to work the history of the American West into the theoretical construct of Karl Wittfogel's "hydraulic society," Reisner is motivated...

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This section contains 198 words
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Buy the Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water Study Guide
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Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.