Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water Essay

Marc Reisner
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Hubbell is pursuing a Ph.D. in history with an emphasis on American history of infrastructure development at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In the following essay, he explores how Reisner's romantic preconceptions tarnish an otherwise splendid revision of American history.

Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert operates more as a "call to arms" than a solid historical analysis of plumbing the Great American Desert. This is not to undermine the incredible array of research mustered by the book or to question Reisner's conclusions. However, it is worthwhile to notice how the book functions well enough to convert its critics and work as a "cult classic" of environmentalists; the deployment of an aesthetic technique combined with the creation of an exclusive genealogy support the militant fear of technology of radical environ-mentalism. This is unfortunate, because Reisner's interpretation of history supports recent Marxist reconceptualizations of democratic technology...

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This section contains 1,532 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water Study Guide
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