The Roots of Progress

The Control of Nature

John McPhee

Three stories: dams and levees to control the flow of the Mississippi River, the 1973 Eldfell eruption in Iceland, and landslides in the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles. It’s fascinating to reflect on how nature is truly indifferent to human needs. Even something we take for granted, such as the course of a river, has to be actively, artificially maintained if it matters to humans. Highly recommended; McPhee is an excellent writer.

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