AMERICA BY RIVERS by Tim Palmer

AMERICA BY RIVERS

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A seasoned, amiable, well-fashioned tour of the nation's waterways, trickle to torrent, from Palmer (Lifelines: The Case for River Conservation, not reviewed). The United States has never treated her rivers well. Dredged, channelized, diverted, dammed, developed, overfished, insulted one way or another, our running waters are orphans, neglected, then forgotten. Palmer comes to sing their praises, giving readers the low-down on their pleasures; he wants us to know what glories run out there, to see all that we have been missing. Ten specific riverine environments are distinguished, from Northeast to Sierra Nevada, Coastal Plain to Alaska (Hawaii, with its Waimea, Hanapepe, and other watercourses, gets the bum's rush, for reasons unknown). Each environment receives the same no-frills treatment from Palmer- -he steers clear of the poetic mode, though he does offer an exultant yawp or two--starting with a regional overview to get a taste of the place, a brief glimpse (biology, cultural history, environmental risks, physiographic features, geological structures) of the principal waterways, then the best part, a detailed vignette of one river typifying the area. Palmer's selections are impeccable: the Penobscot, Potomac, Suwanee, Minnesota, Niobrara, Salmon, Rio Grande, American, Rogue, and Sheenjek; they avoid the most egregiously polluted, the most primly maintained, the blue-ribbon fisheries, the obvious. These river trips allow Palmer to get on a first-name basis with the water; describe its birds and fish and citizenry; pound through a few mean rapids; camp in some sublime, and some godawful, settings; talk with riverkeepers, river conservationists, river aficionados; they give him, in short, a chance to relax and get anecdotal, forgetting about cubic-feet-per-second flow rates for a spell. Palmer is one earnest, informed river rat, a guide to be trusted. (100 photos, 18 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-55963-263-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Island Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996




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