The physical nature of rivers has influenced the course of human history and development, whether it be in the prosecution of major conflicts (US Civil War), patterns of development and social change (dams on the Columbia River), the economy (gold rushes, agricultural development), or international relations (US and Mexico and the Colorado River). The centrality of human-river interactions has had great impacts on the biodiversity of rivers (salmon and other threatened species) that have been the focus of historical and current intense conflicts of values (e.g., water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system and California "water wars" in general).
Of the thousands of rivers in North America, 10 are profiled in Rivers Run Through Us:
- Mackenzie River
- Yukon River
- Fraser River
- Columbia River
- Sacramento-San Joaquin River
- Colorado River
- Rio Grande/Rio Bravo River
- Mississippi River
- Hudson River
- St. Lawrence River
In this engaging new work, Eric Taylor takes readers on a grand tour of 10 of North America's more important river systems, exploring one fundamental issue for each that illustrates the critical role each particular stream has had – and will have – in the human development of North America.
"An inspired and thoughtfully informed guided raft ride down the great rivers of North America."
– Robert W. Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health and author of Rain Comin' Down: Water, Memory and Identity in a Changed World and numerous other titles
"Eric Taylor's ambitious and sweeping Rivers Run Through Us offers readers a close look at some of North America's largest and most controversial river systems. Framed by a belief that rivers and people influence each other and must be studied together, this thoughtful, intelligent book makes an important contribution to 21st-century self-reckoning about industrial overdevelopment."
– Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, author of A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change
"My new favourite book about rivers. Eric Taylor's grand tour of major North American basins is socially and geographically perceptive."
– Laurence C. Smith, author of Rivers of Power and The World in 2050