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Structures in the stream : water, science, and the rise of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Author: Todd A Shallat
Publisher: Austin : University of Texas Press, ©1994.
Series: American studies series.
Edition/Format:   Book : State or province government publication : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
As the Mississippi and other midwestern rivers inundated town after town during the summer of 1993, concerned and often 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 designer and builder of many of the  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Todd A Shallat
ISBN: 0292776799 9780292776791
OCLC Number: 29427817
Description: xi, 276 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Prologue: A Nation Builder --
1. European Antecedents --
2. Mapping Water, Marking Land --
3. The West Point Connection --
4. Objects of National Pride --
5. "A Privileged Order of the Very Worst Class" --
Epilogue: Formative Conflicts
Series Title: American studies series.
Responsibility: Todd Shallat.
More information:

Abstract:

As the Mississippi and other midwestern rivers inundated town after town during the summer of 1993, concerned and often 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 designer and builder of many of the flood control systems that failed. In this book, Todd Shallat probes the origins of the United States' oldest and largest water management agency and explores how the Corps' emphasis on scientific planning cut against the grain of a nation deeply committed to private enterprise and community rights. Combining extensive research with a lively, engaging style, Shallat follows the technological elite of the army from European antecedents through the boom years of river building after the Civil War. He 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. Information on engineering during the Civil War, the influence of women and family on the political and organizational philosophy of the Corps, and numerous historical illustrations add interesting highlights to the story. Much more than an institutional history, Structures in the Stream offers significant insights into American society, which has alternately supported the massive 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 provide important reading for a wide audience in environmental and military history, the history of science and technology, policy studies, and American cultural history.

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