Mining California

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 9780374707200
Format: PDF
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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, Mobi
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, Kindle
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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.

Wyatt Earp A Vigilante Life

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 1429945478
Format: PDF, Docs
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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 Oxford Handbook of Environmental History

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190673486
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The field of environmental history emerged just decades ago but has established itself as one of the most innovative and important new approaches to history, one that bridges the human and natural world, the humanities and the sciences. With the current trend towards internationalizing history, environmental history is perhaps the quintessential approach to studying subjects outside the nation-state model, with pollution, global warming, and other issues affecting the earth not stopping at national borders. With 25 essays, this Handbook is global in scope and innovative in organization, looking at the field thematically through such categories as climate, disease, oceans, the body, energy, consumerism, and international relations.

The Destruction of the Bison

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

Natural History of San Francisco Bay

Author: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520268253
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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

American Exodus

Author: James Noble Gregory
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195071368
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Fifty years ago, John Steinbeck's now classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, captured the epic story of an Oklahoma farm family driven west to California by dust storms, drought, and economic hardship. It was a story that generations of Americans have also come to know through Dorothea Lange's unforgettable photos of migrant families struggling to make a living in Depression-torn California. Now in James N. Gregory's pathbreaking American Exodus, there is at last an historical study that moves beyond the fiction and the photographs to uncover the full meaning of these events. American Exodus takes us back to the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and the war boom influx of the 1940s to explore the experiences of the more than one million Oklahomans, Arkansans, Texans, and Missourians who sought opportunities in California. Gregory reaches into the migrants' lives to reveal not only their economic trials but also their impact on California's culture and society. He traces the development of an "Okie subculture" that over the years has grown into an essential element in California's cultural landscape. The consequences, however, reach far beyond California. The Dust Bowl migration was part of a larger heartland diaspora that has sent millions of Southerners and rural Midwesterners to the nation's northern and western industrial perimeter. American Exodus is the first book to examine the cultural implications of that massive 20th-century population shift. In this rich account of the experiences and impact of these migrant heartlanders, Gregory fills an important gap in recent American social history.

Big Sur

Author: Shelley Alden Brooks
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520294416
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Jeffers' Country -- Nature's highway -- Big Sur: utopia, U.S.A.? -- Open-space at continent's end -- The influence of the counter-culture, community, and State -- The "battle" for Big Sur, or debating the national environmental ethic -- Defining the value of California's coastline -- Epilogue: millionaires and beaches: the socio-political economics of California coastal preservation in the twenty-first century