Water to the Angels

William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles
Narrated by: Robert Fass
Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (158 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"As he goes back into Mulholland's life and work, Fass delivers an understated but gripping narration." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about Water to the Angels

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Water challenges never end

What did you love best about Water to the Angels?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

What about Robert Fass’s performance did you like?

He did a great job.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

2 people found this helpful

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Well Presented Concise Story

This book is a as great presentation of well known facts in a new volume. I initally thought I might learn something new. I didn't BUT this is is a FANTASTIC BOOK that combines the volumes of what I realized I knew from many sources. It's a GREAT read and listen and I will enjoy it many times over!

I should add I have been a student of Mulholland and the LA Aqueduct for decades. Listening to this book I could hear multiple familiar stories, facts, figures, etc. All of a sudden I realized this was the first complilation of those many, many sources of material in one read! All the facts and material all met with every other book, pamphlet, report, etc. I have read over the years.

A great addition to my visual and audible library. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! It makes you realize this "When you touch water in the west you touch everything" as Colorado US Rep Wayne Aspinall said.

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Fantastic!

If you live in Los Angeles, you’ll want to thank this man. You would not be here if it wasn’t for Mulholland. Very interesting how he transformed Los Angeles California, from Water. What a monumental task! Thank you Audible great book.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story of building of the aquaduct.

great story of William Mulholland's life and the building of Los Angeles aquaduct. Very compelling.

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fascinating historical biography

for anyone interested in the history behind the Los Angeles Aqueduct and its chief engineer designer and Creator, Mulholland, this is the book for you! the narration is captivating, and the story very interesting especially if you live in California.

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Mulholland - LA's Chief Water Engineer

Fascinating story of the history of Los Angeles and one man's plan to provide water for his adopted city. Intrigue, politics, and even violence could not stop Mulholland's mission to build the Los Angeles aquaduct.

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Wonderful Informative Book

Must listen for those that are looking for a highly informative but non boring book.

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Solid High Level Overview of a Big Topic

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What three words best describe Robert Fass’s voice?

No to be mean but the narrator's voice sounded like it was run through auto tune a few times over.

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A must read for ALL Californians.

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.

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DO NOT BUY!!!!!

only plays about 4 min of chapter one then tells you that is all there is for the price

well you can imagine !!!!!! i expect to be able to hear more than a few pages!!!!