The Hill and Wang Critical Issues Series: concise, affordable works on pivotal topics in American history, society, and politics.
In this pioneering study, White explores the relationship between the natural history of the Columbia River and the human history of the Pacific Northwest for both whites and Native Americans. He concentrates on what brings humans and the river together: not only the physical space of the region but also, and primarily, energy and work. For working with the river has been central to Pacific Northwesterners' competing ways of life. It is in this way that White comes to view the Columbia River as an organic machine—with conflicting human and natural claims—and to show that whatever separation exists between humans and nature exists to be crossed.