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386 WesternAmerican Literature A View of the River. By Luna B. Leopold. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994. 298 pages, $39.95.) After Aldo Leopold died fighting a fire near his farm in Michigan, his son Luna—a doctoral candidate in geology—headed the team that saw his manu­ script into print. The resulting book, A Sand CountyAlmanac (Oxford University Press, 1949), was a benchmark for conservation and American thought. Having honored his father’s work, Luna Leopold undertook his own, discovering new ways to interpret streams. Fluvial Processes in Geomorphology (1964) raised the quantitative measurement of streams and their landscapes to something approaching an art, and has become an out-of-print treasure. Retir­ ing as the chiefhydrologist and senior research scientist of the U. S. Geological Survey, Leopold taught at Berkeley in the 1970s and studied the way in which cities change their watersheds. With Thomas Dunne, he wrote the encompass­ ing Waterin EnvironmentalPlanning (1978). Leopold might have succeeded brilliantly on his theoretical skills and writing abilitywithout getting his feetwet, but his first love isfieldwork. Measur­ ing streams near his offices and pursuing summer research in the West, he headed up a revolution in his chosen field. Honored by the National Academy ofSciences and the Royal Geographical Society, and with the National Medal of Science, Leopold is eminent without being self-absorbed. Seeing in ruined streams and disastrous floods our lack of water-wisdom, he’s distilled a broad current of research into one clear draught. Having read widely in hydrology (if not, by my standards, well) I admire this book not only for its precision, but also for the author’s ferocious will to be understood. A View oftheRiveris no less than a brilliant, practical guide to the rivers of our continent. Well-illustrated and referenced, it should be an instant standard notjust for science classes, but for environmental studies and technical writing. I’d also be tempted to place it on reading lists along with HuckleberryFinn and A RiverRuns Through It as an antidote to great gulps of “the river-as-archetype.” If you’ve ever watched your face in the shifting mirror of a stream and wondered, this book will give you keys to that realm. Anyone concerned with moving water—not only scientists, but land managers, architects, irrigators, flyfishers , poets, and river rats—will learn to love this small, sleek, blue-backed book. A View oftheRiveris that rare confluence of vigorous scientific imagination and beautiful prose style. Few scientists, or for that matter few writers period, have conveyed such deep and faithful knowledge with such grace. C. L. RAWLINS Boulder, Wyoming ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
p. 386
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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