For our second installment of D-mo's Book Club, we jump from fiction to non, with a very interesting read...
Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River
by David Owen
How I came upon this book
A true case of where I judged a book by its cover, but for the better. I first saw this book at Costco (they always have a spot with best sellers and new hardcovers on one of the aisles), and the cover caught my eye. Based on the title, I thought it might be a murder mystery. It's nothing of the sort. I read the inside cover and was a little dubious, but a couple of pages in, I thought I'd take a chance on it (although a small chance as I didn't buy it; I borrowed it from my library).
The gist of it
At its core, it's a book about the current state of affairs regarding Colorado River water rights. Wait... where are you going?
This book is better than it has any right to be. At first blush, this sounds like this is going to be a dry read (pun partially intended). However, David Owen does a truly wonderful job of weaving together the history of the areas he visits, various interviews with the people who live and work along the river, current facts and statistics, along with a sense of adventure as he traces the Colorado River from its headwaters in the Rockies through to its terminus in Mexico.
At points in this book, it's entertaining. At others, it's informative (I, personally, learned quite a deal). And then there are parts where it makes you want to scream "Oh my god! We're going to hell in a handbasket!" (not even being dramatic... ok, maybe a little). The rules, laws, and players of the Colorado River are so complex and convoluted, but Owen does a fantastic job of making the subject matter approachable. This book is truly a case of the author making a topic engaging, and that success here can not be understated.
The best part, for me, is that Owen doesn't have an agenda. He presents the facts as he found them, conducts interviews with people on opposing sides of certain issues, and just lays them out for you without trying to direct you to a pre-determined point. He lets you makes your own conclusions (mainly because there is no one agenda or angle really to be had. The whole shebang is one archaic clustershag).
I took a chance on this book and I was not disappointed. It was a very engaging read, and I am more enlightened for having read it. I know it's not going to burn up the bestseller lists, and given the topic, it may not be for everyone. However, if you want something different, this book gets my recommendation.
One a scale of 1-4 Library Cards, Where the Water Goes gets:
Thanks for visiting. Love, Demosthenes Spiropoulos