Cadillac Desert, Revised and Updated Edition

The American West and Its Disappearing Water
Narrated by: Joe Spieler, Kate Udall
Length: 27 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (215 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruptions and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecologic and economic disaster. In Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West.

Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning exposé and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of Eden - an Eden that may be only a mirage.

©2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Too much mouth noise in narration

Each breath declares itself as if the narrator is about to submerge for an underwater breath-holding contest. The respiratory rate is way too high - every four to five words. And if that wasn’t enough: wet, smacking breath sounds. I’m sure Joe Spieler is an awesome guy, but he breathes as if he should’ve under the care of physician.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

quintessential history of the West

this book was recommended to me Years Ago by my grandfather who lives in California. at the time I wasn't particularly interested years later I discovered this book after listening to Jared Diamonds collapse book. water as the primary subject matter of this book is incredibly important to Human Society, this particular book should be included as part of any High School American history class. though from time to time the subject matter does fieldron out and potentially over detailed it does adequately emphasize the political maneuvering corruption and subsequent growth of the American West in particular the stories of LA and how it came to acquire its water rights were very interesting from a non Californians perspective. highly recommend this book changes how you see water coming out of the tap

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Required reading for anyone who consumes water

Would you consider the audio edition of Cadillac Desert, Revised and Updated Edition to be better than the print version?

The updated version is important and brings us up to date on water policy, all the way into 2018. Changes since the 1980s when 1st published and then again after being revised in the 1990s make this a book that needs to be read and pondered (or listened to) again.

What did you like best about this story?

The book discusses government and political involvement in water policy from the time of the first damming of rivers and usage of groundwater in the US. It continues to discuss the future consequences.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The book skips around a bit in time. I would like for it to be a bit more chronological

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, death rattle narration.

Joe Spieler's narration is like listening to a man on his death bed gasping for breath, who beckons you to lean forward to hear his last critically-important sentence. And you do it because you really need the information, but it takes 28 hours of painfully listening to that freaking death rattle to get it. And you are glad you got the information because it is really amazing necessary stuff, but you can never quite get that rasping breathy hiss out of your head. On top of that he often mispronounces words, like JOB's Daughters. Whyyyyy. On the other hand, the content of this book was awesome. I am glad for the education, and quite the eye-opening education this is. It has always been the location of water that shapes our world, but I never appreciated how wealth, greed and arrogance shapes who gets to use it. The audacity of humans to divert and harness water simply because they can, begs the very large question of whether they should. This book is a great historical account of how water created the west and the west created water.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Don't Come West Without It.

Having first read this life-changing book in the mid-90s, I was delighted to find it in Audible format and updated too. Anyone living west of the Mississippi River who wishes to catch a glimpse of the waterless realm we in the West are now entering should give this book full attention. The historical account of the various fumbling agencies in charge of our wildlands and watersheds is thoroughly enlightening. Water mismanagement, wanton dam building, abuse of power and climate change have been ongoing for well over a century. Thankfully, that is now changing, as described in the new Afterword section by Lawrie Mott, who brings new life and hope to a parched land overpopulated with people who have little idea of how close we are to running dry. This is one of my lifetime favorite books.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hoarse narrator

The narrator has an extremely hoarse voice that becomes very tiresome. The stories in the first half of the book are interesting, but the book slows down and becomes repetitive in the second half. By the end, the negativity and “sky is falling” mentality is just boring.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Required Reading

What an amazing encyclopedia of information on the development of the American West. This book includes great miniature geologic histories, histories of huge bureaucracies, and yet very detailed points water resources and their management.

This book was very well investigated and reported. The author does get a little editorial at times, especially when talking about whether or not the investment was worth it, but that's easy to overlook given the obvious amount of work that went into this book.

Like others have stated, the audio is hard to get used to.

The only downside is that the book was written so long ago...so much history to catch up on since the writing in this book. The 2017 update is okay, but certainly missing the Marc Reisner command of information.

I would mark this as a must for educational reading.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A true masterpiece that's frees you from ignorance

It's a dense book that dives deep into the water usage of the west. It is enlightening and enthralling. A must read for anyone who lives west of the Mississippi.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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so interesting, well researched, and illuminative.

highly recommend both author and narrator. I learned so much about my home region. A++

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    5 out of 5 stars

afterrward was a letdown.

the time of the afterward did not match the time of the rest of the book; way too politically charged.