The author of Last Train to Paradise tells the story of the largest public water project ever created - William Mulholland's Los Angeles aqueduct - a story of Gilded Age ambition, hubris, greed, and one determined man whose vision shaped the future and continues to impact us today.
In 1907 Irish immigrant William Mulholland conceived and built one of the greatest civil engineering feats in history: the aqueduct that carried water 223 miles from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Los Angeles - allowing this small, resource-challenged desert city to grow into a modern global metropolis. Drawing on new research, Les Standiford vividly captures the larger-than-life engineer and the breathtaking scope of his six-year, $23-million project that would transform a region, a state, and a nation at the dawn of its greatest century.
With energy and colorful detail, Water to the Angels brings to life the personalities, politics, and power - including bribery, deception, force, and bicoastal financial warfare - behind this dramatic event. At a time when the importance of water is being recognized as never before - considered by many experts to be the essential resource of the twenty-first century - Water to the Angels brings into focus the vigor of a fabled era, the might of a larger-than-life individual, and the scale of a priceless construction project and sheds critical light on a past that offers insights for our future.
©2015 Les Standiford (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
"As he goes back into Mulholland's life and work, Fass delivers an understated but gripping narration." (AudioFile)
I'd recommend this book to those who want an easy to understand and accessible overview of LA's complex water issues. Water is a big issue for us in So Cal and this book really helps understand the backdrop of how we got to where we are today.
I would've appreciated a deeper dive into a few of the topics within the book. LA's history is so rich and storied the author could've pick a few elements to expand on. But, as I wrote, the book delivered a very good and accessible account of a fascinating and dramatic topic.
No to be mean but the narrator's voice sounded like it was run through auto tune a few times over.
Great story and narration. The drama and finagling that took place to bring water to Southern California is a story all Californians should learn from. We need to have gratitude for the water we have and practice stewardship for the birthplace of this precious resource.
In another time of a California drought, it is interesting to understand that the water problem is as old as California. I have come to understand that California as we know it is a man-made place. W/o the water projects, Southern California is just a string of small, poor, dry communities. W/o the water projects, the valleys that produce so much of the nation's food are just range land, maybe good for grazing animals. Men like William Mulholland made this land the garden it is. Even with all the trouble today, it is still a great achievement.
William Mulholland is a guy I would like to meet. He was a true genius and evidently a great storyteller. And an honest civil servant.
He did a great job.
I would not say "moved" but I greatly enjoyed the background on California water geography and found descriptions of Mulholland very interesting. As I wrote above, he is the guy a guy I would love to meet.
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