At the Base of the Giant's Throat: The Past and Future of America's Great Dams by Palumbi, Anthony R.

At the Base of the Giant's Throat: The Past and Future of America's Great Dams

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There are ninety thousand registered dams in the United States, fifty thousand of them classified as "major." Nearly all of this infrastructure was built during a forty-year period, from 1932 to 1972, in an era of public investment and political consensus that seems inconceivable today. These incredible structures--sometimes called the American Pyramids--helped the country rebound from the Great Depression, brought water and electricity to enormous reaches, helped win World War II for the Allies, and became the basis for decades of prosperous stability.

At the Base of the Giant's Throat dives into the history of dam-building in the United States as natural waterscapes have been replaced with engineered environments and the bone-dry West became America's produce aisle. From the Folsom Powerhouse cranking sixty-hertz alternating current in the 1890s to the iconic Hoover Dam and the gargantuan Grand Coulee Dam, Anthony R. Palumbi lays out how dams and water projects changed the North American continent forever and laid the groundwork for an age of unprecedented prosperity. He also describes how institutional complacency corrupted the ethos of public power and public works--and how the influence of rich landowners undermined the credibility of that ethos. Palumbi shows how our nation's ability to cope with natural disasters has been fatally compromised by underinvestment in decaying infrastructure. He argues that a livable future demands investment on a scale few Americans currently grasp. To win that future we must interrogate the history of our most vital public works: the dams, canals, and levees helping to channel life's most precious molecule.

At the Base of the Giant's Throat tells the story of America through its water, sweeping across five hundred years of history, from the swashbuckling exploits of French colonist Samuel de Champlain to the nightmarish urban flooding of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

Author: Anthony R. Palumbi
Publisher: Potomac Books
Published: 04/01/2023
Pages: 328
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.45lbs
Size: 8.90h x 5.83w x 1.02d
ISBN: 9781640124936

About the Author
Anthony R. Palumbi is the coauthor of The Extreme Life of the Sea and the author of Blood Plagues and Endless Raids: A Hundred Million Lives in the World of Warcraft. His work on natural science and popular culture has appeared in the Washington Post, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Natural History, Mission Blue, and Think Progress, among other outlets.

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