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Water to the angels : William Mulholland,…
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Water to the angels : William Mulholland, his monumental aqueduct, and the rise of Los Angeles (utgåvan 2015)

av Les Standiford, Robert Fass (Narrator.)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
1244220,011 (3.87)Ingen/inga
Documents the story of William Mulholland's Los Angeles aqueduct, the largest public water project ever built, describing how it transformed a small desert city into a modern metropolis.
Medlem:rsutto22
Titel:Water to the angels : William Mulholland, his monumental aqueduct, and the rise of Los Angeles
Författare:Les Standiford
Andra författare:Robert Fass (Narrator.)
Info:New York : HarperAudio, 2015.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles av Les Standiford

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Visar 4 av 4
Knowing how much of the water supplied to Southern California is imported from outside the region, it was interesting to read about the 20th century visionaries and the projects which brought water to the Los Angeles region. Key to the story is William Mulholland, of a self-made, self-educated Irish immigrant, who worked his way up from a laborer, basically a ditch digger, to become the chief engineer of the Los Angeles water district. To simply imagine the vision it took to conceive of how to bring water from hundreds of miles away, through mountains and deserts, cheaply and efficiently, is mindboggling. He had to create tools, equipment, and techniques never before used. Without the foresight and projects he conceived, Los Angeles as we know it today would not exist. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing may be debatable, but the story of making it happen is amazing, especially knowing that the huge project was brought in by Mulholland on-time and within budget.

It was also interesting to hear about the inevitable political opponents who popped up to invent conspiracy theories about Mulholland's motives, and about their muddying the waters, so to speak, about whether the additional, future-looking water supply was even needed. With no facts on their side, opponents were able to create spread stories that city leaders and Mulholland were creating the large water aqueduct project bringing water from the Sierras to L.A. as nothing more than a self-profiting scheme, helping themselves at the expense of "the little guy". Opponents further claimed that there was already adequate water supply from the Los Angeles river, and when that failed to stop the project, that the water being brought into LA would be "poisoned" and unfit for consumption. All the complaints and conspiracies proved wrong, yet their propaganda gained considerable headway with the public at the time.

I see parallels today, with a new special interest group popping up to oppose any new project, whether it be power plants, fracking, high-speed rail, fuel efficiency standards, desalination, vaccinations, GMO's, clean air initiatives, etc., with science and facts taking a back seat to political rhetoric, invented problems, and emotions.

In Mulholland’s day, he had to fight his political opponents and defend his good name, and he prevailed, allowing the Los Angeles region to grow and flourish. Now, 100 years later, current climate conditions and population growth have put great strains on the water supplies, and demands now exceed supply. Severe water use curtailment and restrictions are required throughout southern California. This book gives a taste of what the next visionary, the William Mulholland for the 21st Century, will have to be like to solve the water crisis in the Southwest.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Les Standiford does a good job giving a balanced look at the life of William Mulholland. I agree with other negative reviews in that the details something got me bogged down. I listened to this book mostly while at the gym on the stationary bike, and I was never like "I'm so excited to read this book." Another reviewer mentioned that maps would be a good idea for the book, and I agree. I kept trying to picture different places mentioned in the book, but since it's been a while since I lived within LA proper it was hard to imagine.

On the upside, now I know more about how water came to Los Angeles and the pros and cons on the man, Mulholland. Standiford also brought me back to Los Angeles visually 100 years ago. It was crazy to think about the City of Angels before cars as well as water. Or that Porter Ranch was actually a ranch. I learned about the history of the DWP and even a little bit about the LATimes. If you are a Los Angeles history buff, this is fun stuff.

I'm glad I read this book, and yes, it would make a great movie. ( )
  kerchie1 | Jun 9, 2017 |
Who is a great man? Much of that depends on your perspective. By most standards there is no denying that William Mulholland was a great builder, would appear to have had a higher level of insight than most men in his position and his vision allowed for the creation of modern Los Angeles; he was certainly not the ineffectual person depicted in the movie "Chinatown." The wider question is whether Mulholland's act of creation merited sacrificing the potential of the Owens Valley as an agricultural powerhouse and creating the pretense that Los Angeles was anything other than an oasis in a desert; those questions are still be played out. It might also be noted that you'll learn more about the the All-American blood sport of land speculation then you will about the St. Francis Dam Disaster (sort of my main reason for picking up this book), though the dam failure is also covered. ( )
  Shrike58 | Jan 24, 2017 |
The biography of the man -- William Mulholland -- who brought water to the Los Angeles basin, setting it on the path to the huge sprawling city we know today. The turn of the century from the 1800s to the 1900s was an era in which any underutilized resource was available for the taking -- all you needed was money and support from the government. Little to no thought was given to the impacts on the environment or rural communities. Mulholland was in the right place at the right time to create the engineering marvel that stole water from the distant Owens Valley and transported it downhill to Los Angeles. Was he an evil man? No, but he had his flaws and blind spots. Was the Owens Valley destroyed? Probably not, as with water it too would have become another sprawling California blight on the land full of cheap houses and strip malls. ( )
  exfed | Nov 20, 2016 |
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The mysterious is the source / Of all true art and all science. -Albert Einstein
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Shortly before midnight on March 12, 1928, carpenter Ace Hopewell piloted his motorcycle up the twisting San Francisquito Canyon Road north of Saugus, about fifty miles north of Los Angeles -Chapter One, How Dreams Might End
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Documents the story of William Mulholland's Los Angeles aqueduct, the largest public water project ever built, describing how it transformed a small desert city into a modern metropolis.

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