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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  Environmental History

Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake

By: Jack Brubaker(Author)
288 pages, 63 b/w photos, 9 b/w maps
Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake
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  • Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake ISBN: 9780271023366 Paperback Sep 2002 Out of stock with supplier: order now to get this when available
Price: £32.95
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

As the largest river on the East Coast of the United States, the rolling Susquehanna is the indispensable tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary. Gathering strength from scores of streams along its 444-mile journey, the river delivers half of the freshwater the bay requires to maintain its ecological balance.

Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake traces the course of the Susquehanna River through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to the bay. Fifty-six short chapters discuss key locations along the route and how the river changes from sources to sea. These chapters also look at how natural resources influence, and in some ways shape, the lives of the people and their communities.

Along the river tour, Jack Brubaker examines the natural and human history of the Susquehanna, exploring how the river has been used and abused, as well as its current condition and future prospects. He explains how the unusually shallow, rocky river has substantially altered its drainage pattern over geologic time and how it continues to cut channels while erasing and creating islands.

For generations the Susquehanna has ebbed through the daily lives of the riverside residents, providing water to drink and a place to pump sewage. Floods have humbled those who chose to live close to the river's edge, and droughts have fretted farmers. A vibrant fishery has provided sustenance and recreation for hundreds of thousands.

The Iroquois and the Susquehannocks reluctantly yielded the river to white settlers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the Susquehanna defined the American frontier. Coal mining, lumbering, and hydroelectric and nuclear energy production polluted the water and nearly ruined the landscape beyond hope in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Hope returned in the latter part of the last century as the people of the Susquehanna began restoration efforts.

With the aid of more than 70 maps and illustrations, Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake provides a bold new look at a dynamic old river. This powerful journey brings alive the Susquehanna, its history, and the colorful personalities who live along its banks.


Pine Creek (Prologue)

Spring-Water River
- Ocquionis Creek
- Lake Otsego
- The Outlet
- The Course
- Cooperstown
- Goodyear Lake

Long Crooked River
- Great Bend
- Binghamton
- Rockbottom Dam
- Owego
- Tioga
- Wyalusing Rocks
- Wyoming Valley
- Wilkes Barre: Coal
- Wilkes-Barre: Flood
- Nescopeck Falls
- Bloomsburg

Long Reach River
- The Headspring
- Bakerton Reservoir
- Barnesboro
- Canoe Place
- Clearfield
- Kettle Creek
- Lock Haven
- Great Island
- Williamsport
- Muncy

Broad Shallow River
- The Confluence
- Shamokin Riffles
- Port Treverton
- Millersburg
- Juniata River
- Harrisburg: Water Gaps
- Harrisburg: Renewal
- Harrisburg: Ice
- Harrisburg: Drought
- Royalton
- Three Mile Island
- Conewago Falls: Geology
- Conewago Falls: Navigation
- York Haven
- Brunner Island
- Marietta
- Columbia
- Columbia Dam

Rock River
- Turkey Hill
- Lake Clarke
- Safe Harbor
- Conestoga River
- Conowingo Pond
- Conowingo Dam
- Smith’s Falls

Great Bay River
- Havre de Grace
- The Mouth
- The Flats
- The Bay
- The Sea (Epilogue)

An Afterword of Gratitude
A Note on Printed Sources

Customer Reviews


Jack Brubaker is a columnist for the Lancaster New Era. His previous books include The Last Capital: Danville, Virginia, and the Final Days of the Confederacy (1979; 1996) and Hullabaloo Nevonia: An Anecdotal History of Student Life at Franklin and Marshall College (1987).

By: Jack Brubaker(Author)
288 pages, 63 b/w photos, 9 b/w maps
Media reviews

"Captures the charm – and violence – of the Chesapeake Bay's only indispensable tributary [...] Doubly welcome, for its own considerable virtues and for filling in so many of the blanks in our knowledge of a river that plays a far larger role in this part of the country than most of us realize [...] Brubaker's meticulous and loving description of the river should do much to heighten our appreciation of this secret treasure [...] [U]niversity-press publishing at its absolute best."
– Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake is a first rate history and environmental saga. Brubaker not only captures the sweep of eons of time; he also zeroes in on tiny details which must have taken endless time to find and put together."
– Gerald S. Lestz, Strasburg Weekly News

"Enhanced with more than 70 maps and illustrations, Down The Susquehanna To The Chesapeake is a fascinating, well written, highly recommended treatise and would serve as an admirable model to writing about and exploring the histories of other major American rivers."
Midwest Book Review

"If you have time this summer for only one nonfiction book, this is to beat a drum for Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake [...] Jack Brubaker is superbly informed."
– James H. Bready, Baltimore Sun

"Jack Brubaker, editorial page editor and a columnist for the Lancaster New Era, may have written the ultimate book about the Susquehanna River. Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake, published by Penn State University Press, is a paean to the largest river on the East Coast."
– Caroline Terenzini, Centre Daily Times (CDT)

"There have been dozens of books written about the Susquehanna River, the largest river on the East Coast of the United States, and the river that delivers half of the freshwater needed by the Chesapeake Bay to maintain its ecological balance. But perhaps none is more engaging than Jack Brubaker's Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake (Penn State Press, 2002), mainly because it tells us so much more about the river's history – both natural and human – than we've ever known before."
– Erica L. Shames, Susquehanna Life Magazine

"Brubaker's carefully researched and skillfully written volume [is] a fascinating read for anyone needing a reminder of how much a river can affect human lives."
– Rick Marsi, Binghampton Press and Sunday Bulletin

"This beautifully written and designed volume is the best book I've ever read about the Susquehanna River, a subject dear to my heart. Geology, archaeology, sociology, ecology, biology and many other areas of academia come to life in Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake, which seems to me a real life saga that reads more colorfully and memorably than many an acclaimed novel."
– Eileen Graham, Harrisburg Patriot News

"[Jack Brubaker] offers an intimate view of life along the East Coast's largest river by layering geology on history on ecology on travelogue."
– Jo-Ann Greene, Lancaster Sunday News

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