Mining California

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 9780374707200
Format: PDF, Kindle
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An environmental History of California during the Gold Rush Between 1849 and 1874 almost $1 billion in gold was mined in California. With little available capital or labor, here's how: high-pressure water cannons washed hillsides into sluices that used mercury to trap gold but let the soil wash away; eventually more than three times the amount of earth moved to make way for the Panama Canal entered California's rivers, leaving behind twenty tons of mercury every mile—rivers overflowed their banks and valleys were flooded, the land poisoned. In the rush to wealth, the same chain of foreseeable consequences reduced California's forests and grasslands. Not since William Cronon's Nature's Metropolis has a historian so skillfully applied John Muir's insight—"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe"—to the telling of the history of the American West. Beautifully told, this is western environmental history at its finest.

Mining California

Author: Andrew Christian Isenberg
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0809095351
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The author of The Destruction of the Bison analyzes the environmental repercussions of the nineteenth-century Gold Rush in California, including the removal of many tons of soil, the use of poisonous mercury to extract the gold, the devastation of California's forests and grasslands, and the poisoning of the land itself.

Mining California

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 9780809069323
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
An environmental History of California during the Gold Rush Between 1849 and 1874 almost $1 billion in gold was mined in California. With little available capital or labor, here’s how: high-pressure water cannons washed hillsides into sluices that used mercury to trap gold but let the soil wash away; eventually more than three times the amount of earth moved to make way for the Panama Canal entered California’s rivers, leaving behind twenty tons of mercury every mile—rivers overflowed their banks and valleys were flooded, the land poisoned. In the rush to wealth, the same chain of foreseeable consequences reduced California’s forests and grasslands. Not since William Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis has a historian so skillfully applied John Muir’s insight—“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”—to the telling of the history of the American West. Beautifully told, this is western environmental history at its finest.

Thrown Among Strangers

Author: Douglas Monroy
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520082753
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Every California schoolchild's first interaction with history begins with the missions and Indians. It is the pastoralist image, of course, and it is a lasting one. Children in elementary school hear how Father Serra and the priests brought civilization to the groveling, lizard- and acorn-eating Indians of such communities as Yang-na, now Los Angeles. So edified by history, many of those children drag their parents to as many missions as they can. Then there is the other side of the missions, one that a mural decorating a savings and loan office in the San Fernando Valley first showed to me as a child. On it a kindly priest holds a large cross over a kneeling Indian. For some reason, though, the padre apparently aims not to bless the Indian but rather to bludgeon him with the emblem of Christianity. This portrait, too, clings to the memory, capturing the critical view of the missionization of California's indigenous inhabitants. I carried the two childhood images with me both when I went to libraries as I researched the missions and when I revisited several missions thirty years after those family trips. In this work I proceed neither to dubunk nor to reconcile these contrary notions of the missions and Indians but to present a new and, I hope, deeper understanding of the complex interaction of the two antithetical cultures.

The Destruction of the Bison

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521003483
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This study examines the cultural and ecological causes of the near-extinction of the bison.

Junipero Serra

Author: Steven W. Hackel
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0809095319
Format: PDF
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Published to coincide with the 300th anniversary of Junipero Serra's birth, this landmark biography of the founder of the first Catholic missions in California presents an authoritative study of a man whose life continues to be celebrated and denounced.

Wyatt Earp A Vigilante Life

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 1429945478
Format: PDF, ePub
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Finalist for the 2014 Weber-Clements Book Prize for the Best Non-fiction Book on Southwestern America In popular culture, Wyatt Earp is the hero of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, and a beacon of rough cowboy justice in the tumultuous American West. The subject of dozens of films, he has been invoked in battles against organized crime (in the 1930s), communism (in the 1950s), and al-Qaeda (after 2001). Yet as the historian Andrew C. Isenberg reveals in Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life, the Hollywood Earp is largely a fiction—one created by none other than Earp himself. The lawman played on-screen by Henry Fonda and Burt Lancaster is stubbornly duty-bound; in actuality, Earp led a life of impulsive lawbreaking and shifting identities. When he wasn't wearing a badge, he was variously a thief, a brothel bouncer, a gambler, and a confidence man. As Isenberg writes, "He donned and shucked off roles readily, whipsawing between lawman and lawbreaker, and pursued his changing ambitions recklessly, with little thought to the cost to himself, and still less thought to the cost, even the deadly cost, to others." By 1900, Earp's misdeeds had caught up with him: his involvement as a referee in a fixed heavyweight prizefight brought him national notoriety as a scoundrel. Stung by the press, Earp set out to rebuild his reputation. He spent his last decades in Los Angeles, where he befriended Western silent film actors and directors. Having tried and failed over the course of his life to invent a better future for himself, in the end he invented a better past. Isenberg argues that even though Earp, who died in 1929, did not live to see it, Hollywood's embrace of him as a paragon of law and order was his greatest confidence game of all. A searching account of the man and his enduring legend, and a book about our national fascination with extrajudicial violence, Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life is a resounding biography of a singular American figure.

The California Deserts

Author: Bruce M Pavlik
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520940789
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This highly readable, spectacularly illustrated compendium is an ecological journey into a wondrous land of extremes. "The California Deserts "explores the remarkable diversity of life in this harsh yet fragile quarter of the Golden State. In a rich narrative, it illuminates how that diversity, created by drought and heat, has evolved with climate change since the Ice Ages. Along the way, we find there is much to learn from each desert species whether it is a cactus, pupfish, tortoise, or bighorn sheep about adaptation to a warming, arid world. The book tells of human adaptation as well, and is underscored by a deep appreciation for the intimate knowledge acquired by native people during their 12,000-year desert experience. In this sense, the book is a journey of rediscovery, as it reflects on the ways that knowledge has been reclaimed and amplified by new discoveries. The book also takes the measure of the ecological condition of these deserts today, presenting issues of conservation, management, and restoration. With its many sidebars, photographs, and featured topics, "The California Deserts "provides a unique introduction to places of remarkable and often unexpected beauty."

Industrial Cowboys

Author: David Igler
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520245342
Format: PDF, Docs
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"Ambitiously conceived, abundantly researched, effectively plotted, elegantly composed, and concisely argued, Igler's study of the rise and fall of Miller & Lux will be hailed as a landmark contribution. No other work on late nineteenth-century California so stylishly and convincingly brings together the social, economic, and ecological dimensions of the state's post-Gold Rush development."—Stephen Aron, author of How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay "David Igler writes this intriguing history at the intersection of landscape, work and industry. He places the emergence of Western resource based corporations at the center of a set of cultural, economic, and natural changes that intersect and ramify in unforeseen directions."—Richard White, author of "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West

Natural History of San Francisco Bay

Author: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520268253
Format: PDF, Docs
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“After experiencing, researching, and writing about San Francisco Bay over a period of 50 years, I was certain that I knew all there was to know about it. I was wrong. Rubissow Okamoto and Wong have enabled me to see it in a new dimension—call it 3D or maybe even 4D.” —Harold Gilliam, author of San Francisco Bay “This is an eminently readable account of the natural and human history of San Francisco Bay.” —Rainer Hoenicke, Director, San Francisco Estuary Institute