"Walton first uses his magnifying glass to capture images of struggle in a California valley during a century and a half of transformation, then ...Show synopsis"Walton first uses his magnifying glass to capture images of struggle in a California valley during a century and a half of transformation, then inverts it to scrutinize the American state, popular politics, and collective action in general. The maneuver is bold, the outcome stimulating."--Charles Tilly, New School for Social Research "A passionate and first rate historical adventure. The plot is as intricate, fascinating, and full of intrigue and detail as a Dickens or a Tolstoy novel."--John Nichols, author of "The Milagro Beanfield War"Hide synopsis
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Description:Fine. 0520084535. Centennial Book; 1.07 x 8.84 x 6 Inches;...Fine. 0520084535. Centennial Book; 1.07 x 8.84 x 6 Inches; Western Times and Water Wars chronicles more than a hundred years of tumultuous events in the history of California's Owens Valley. From the pioneer conquest of the native inhabitants to the infamous destruction of the valley's agrarian economy by water-hungry Los Angeles, this legendary setting is a microcosm of the development of the American West.
You can read this book just for its history of Owens Valley and the water war with Los Angeles and get your money's worth. If you have a social science orientation, the last chapter deleves into the theories of collective action, state and citizen interactions.
The great advantage of Watson's history is that it was written in the eary 1990s so the history covers not only the initial water wars from 1905-1920, but the 1960 - 1990 phase when the Owens Valley residents finally won back many of their rights and more control of their water through innovative use of the Environmental Quality laws passed in the 1960s.
Especially interesting is Watson's analyis of the effects of the novels and movies based on the first water wars, including the impact of the movie, "Chinatown" on the results of the recent efforts of Owens Valley residents to win back basic rights over their valley.
It is interesting to note that the residetns who used violence against the Department of Water and Power of the City of Los Angeles, became legendary and heroic, now they would be prosecuted as "terrorists" under the Homeland Security Law.
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