Structures In The Stream: Water, Science, And The Rise Of The U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers (American Studies Series)

Structures In The Stream: Water, Science, And The Rise Of The U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers (American Studies Series)

  • Publish Date: 1994-11-01
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Todd Shallat
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University of Texas Press
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As the Mississippi and other midwestern rivers inundated town after town during the summer of 1993, concerned and angry citizens questioned whether the very technologies and structures intended to tame the rivers did not, in fact, increase the severity of the floods. Much of the controversy swirled around the apparent culpability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the builder of many of the flood control systems that failed.

In this book, Todd Shallat examines the turbulent first century of the dam and canal building Corps and follows the agency's rise from European antecedents through the boom years of river development after the American Civil War. Combining extensive research with a lively style, Shallat tells the story of monumental construction and engineering fiascoes, public service and public corruption, and the rise of science and the army expert as agents of the state.

More than an institutional history, Structures in the Stream offers significant insights into American society, which has alternately supported the public works projects that are a legacy of our French heritage and opposed them based on the democratic, individualist tradition inherited from Britain. It will be important reading for a wide audience in environmental, military, and scientific history, policy studies, and American cultural history.

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