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Rivers of Power

Rivers of Power

How a Natural Force Raised Kingdoms, Destroyed Civilizations, and Shapes Our World

A “fascinating, eye-opening, sometimes alarming, and ultimately inspiring” natural history of rivers and their complex and ancient relationship with human civilization (Elizabeth Kolbert).

Rivers, more than any road, technology, or political leader, have shaped the course of human civilization. They have opened frontiers, founded cities, settled borders, and fed billions. They promote life, forge peace, grant power, and can capriciously destroy everything in their path. Even today, rivers remain a powerful global force — one that is more critical than ever to our future.

In Rivers of Power, geographer Laurence C. Smith explores the timeless and vastly underappreciated relationship between rivers and civilization as we know it. Rivers are of course important in many practical ways (water supply, transportation, sanitation). But the full breadth of their profound influence on the way we live is less obvious. Rivers define and transcend international borders, forcing cooperation between nations. Huge volumes of river water are used to produce energy, raw commodities, and food. Wars, politics, and demography are transformed by their devastating floods. The territorial claims of nations, their cultural and economic ties to each other, and the migrations and histories of their peoples trace back to rivers, river valleys, and the topographic divides they carve upon the world.

Beautifully told and expansive in scope, Rivers of Power reveals how and why rivers have so profoundly influenced our civilization, and examines the importance this vast, arterial power holds for our present, past, and future.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Nature / Ecosystems & Habitats / Rivers

On Sale: April 21st 2020

Price: $29 / $37 (CAD)

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 9780316412001

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Laurence C. Smith takes readers on a tour of the world's great rivers -- past, present, and future. The result is fascinating, eye-opening, sometimes alarming, and ultimately inspiring."—Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction
"Rivers of Power transforms something quite common and often unappreciated into a compelling subject of critical importance to humanity. With scholarship, literary flair, and a personal touch, Smith takes the reader on a fascinating and surprising voyage of discovery, illuminating the myriad ways in which rivers have molded the course of history. He also sounds a clarion call for all of us to invest in understanding, revitalizing, and protecting our rivers as a means of improving our own lives."—Eric Jay Dolin, bestselling author of Black Flags, Blue Waters
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