The Source

How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers

Martin Doyle (Author)

Overview | Formats

“An original and thought-provoking exploration of the sinuous course that water has carved through our economic and political landscape.” —Gerard Helferich, Wall Street Journal

In a powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution’s roots in interstate river navigation, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina and the water wars in the west. Through his own travels and his encounters with experts all over the country—a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a project manager buying water rights for farms along the Colorado River—Doyle reveals the central role rivers have played in American history and how vital they are to its future.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • March 2019
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35661-8
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 352 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverThe Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers


Endorsements & Reviews

“Move over Cadillac Desert and The Last Oasis: a new classic on American rivers has arrived.” — James Salzman, author of Drinking Water

“Original… [and] poignant.” — Robert Glennon, New York Times Book Review

“Authoritative.… Even readers with an allergy to learning history will come away with a greater understanding of how rivers have literally made our country.” — Tracy Ross, Outside

“In [Doyle’s] telling, rivers become a lens on federalism, energy and conservation—a rolling narrative.” — Nature

The Source is one of those rare books you look up from and see with fresh eyes.” — Dan Flores, best-selling author of Coyote America

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