The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River

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Macmillan, Jan 31, 1996 - History - 130 pages

The Hill and Wang Critical Issues Series: concise, affordable works on pivotal topics in American history, society, and politics.

In this pioneering study, White explores the relationship between the natural history of the Columbia River and the human history of the Pacific Northwest for both whites and Native Americans. He concentrates on what brings humans and the river together: not only the physical space of the region but also, and primarily, energy and work. For working with the river has been central to Pacific Northwesterners' competing ways of life. It is in this way that White comes to view the Columbia River as an organic machine--with conflicting human and natural claims--and to show that whatever separation exists between humans and nature exists to be crossed.


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User Review  - waterarchives - LibraryThing

Richard White has an ability to describe in easy prose the interconnectivity of humans and nature that causes his readers to stop and think, "Of course, but why didn't I see that before." This tight ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - srfbluemama - LibraryThing

This book is fascinating and really makes you think about the myriad ways that humans have changed the environment that they live in. This book is especially relevant today, as salmon populations on the West Coast are lower than ever. It's short and well-written. Read full review


Knowing Nature through Labor
Putting the River to Work
The Power of the River

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About the author (1996)

Richard White, professor of History at the University of Washington in Seattle, is the author of The Middle Ground and It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own and the recipient of the Albert J. Beveridge and Western Heritage awards.

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