kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California

Availability: Ready to download

Author Mark Arax is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, that is straining to keep up with Cali Author Mark Arax is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, that is straining to keep up with California's relentless growth. This is a heartfelt, beautifully written book about the land and the people who have worked it--from gold miners to wheat ranchers to small fruit farmers and today's Big Ag. Since the beginning, Californians have redirected rivers, drilled ever-deeper wells and built higher dams, pushing the water supply past its limit. The Dreamt Land weaves reportage, history, and memoir to confront the "Golden State" myth in riveting fashion. No other chronicler of the West has so deeply delved into the empires of agriculture that drink so much of the water. The nation's biggest farmers--the nut king, grape king and citrus queen--tell their story here for the first time. It is a tale of politics and hubris in the arid West, of imported workers left behind in the sun and the fatigued earth that is made to give more even while it keeps sinking. But when drought turns to flood once again, all is forgotten as the farmers plant more nuts and the developers build more houses. Arax, the native son, is persistent and tough as he treks from desert to delta, mountain to valley. What he finds is hard earned, awe-inspiring, tragic and revelatory. In the end, his compassion for the land becomes an elegy to the dream that created California and now threatens to undo it.


Compare
kode adsense disini

Author Mark Arax is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, that is straining to keep up with Cali Author Mark Arax is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, that is straining to keep up with California's relentless growth. This is a heartfelt, beautifully written book about the land and the people who have worked it--from gold miners to wheat ranchers to small fruit farmers and today's Big Ag. Since the beginning, Californians have redirected rivers, drilled ever-deeper wells and built higher dams, pushing the water supply past its limit. The Dreamt Land weaves reportage, history, and memoir to confront the "Golden State" myth in riveting fashion. No other chronicler of the West has so deeply delved into the empires of agriculture that drink so much of the water. The nation's biggest farmers--the nut king, grape king and citrus queen--tell their story here for the first time. It is a tale of politics and hubris in the arid West, of imported workers left behind in the sun and the fatigued earth that is made to give more even while it keeps sinking. But when drought turns to flood once again, all is forgotten as the farmers plant more nuts and the developers build more houses. Arax, the native son, is persistent and tough as he treks from desert to delta, mountain to valley. What he finds is hard earned, awe-inspiring, tragic and revelatory. In the end, his compassion for the land becomes an elegy to the dream that created California and now threatens to undo it.

30 review for The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California

  1. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    If you are a land owner in California this feels like a must read! An excellent history of California’s water woes punctuated with many stories of the local growers. I listened to the book and was rapt to his every word, it’s a long book, maybe 13 hours, my batteries don’t last that long so forced to make this a two day venture, I yearned to get back to it! I am an avid gardener with a deep interest in nuturing the land, was gardening the entire times I listened and enjoyed hearing all aspects. If you are a land owner in California this feels like a must read! An excellent history of California’s water woes punctuated with many stories of the local growers. I listened to the book and was rapt to his every word, it’s a long book, maybe 13 hours, my batteries don’t last that long so forced to make this a two day venture, I yearned to get back to it! I am an avid gardener with a deep interest in nuturing the land, was gardening the entire times I listened and enjoyed hearing all aspects. I really enjoyed the family dynamics of pomegranates and citrus. I live on an irrigation canal dug by the gold miners in the 1800s, a miners inch has greater meaning to me than most, but I still think it’s an excellent story about California’s history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    MGF

    A fascinating and well-written history of the Central Valley in CA told mainly through the lens of farmers. Based on that description alone, I would agree that it doesn’t exactly scream ‘Read me!’, until you realize the skill of the author (a former LA Times reporter) to weave the foundational history (eg gold rush) with the current challenges of water, drought, law, immigration, environment, and capitalism - oh, and the ego of man to bend nature to its will. Ultimately, it’s a story of America. A fascinating and well-written history of the Central Valley in CA told mainly through the lens of farmers. Based on that description alone, I would agree that it doesn’t exactly scream ‘Read me!’, until you realize the skill of the author (a former LA Times reporter) to weave the foundational history (eg gold rush) with the current challenges of water, drought, law, immigration, environment, and capitalism - oh, and the ego of man to bend nature to its will. Ultimately, it’s a story of America. Highly recommend.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Rynecki

    I’m a bit more than halfway through this book. At 530 pages it is not a light summer read. It is, however, a beautifully written book and one that lots of people ought to be required to read - particularly California politicians. It’s the story of water, the California land grab, politics, agriculture in the arid West, greed, and ingenuity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julianne Burk

    A brilliant blend of investigative research, history and storytelling. There’s even poetry in these lines. A massive accomplishment by Mr. Arax!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    To get my one complaint out of the way: this book needed more maps! There's one basic one at the beginning, but the author references many different geographies than are labeled on it, and in different levels of detail. Especially as a non-Californian, I very much wanted a little more illustration of exactly what kinds of places I was dealing with in each chapter. A fascinating read overall - natural and man-made history, California mythology and myth-busting in all its contradictions. I love the To get my one complaint out of the way: this book needed more maps! There's one basic one at the beginning, but the author references many different geographies than are labeled on it, and in different levels of detail. Especially as a non-Californian, I very much wanted a little more illustration of exactly what kinds of places I was dealing with in each chapter. A fascinating read overall - natural and man-made history, California mythology and myth-busting in all its contradictions. I love these stories of the massive human ingenuity it took to colonize and engineer such a vast ecosystem and turn its natural flood/drought cycles to something amenable to industrial-scale agriculture, told with the understanding that ingenuity does not equal wisdom. And told with empathy for people - not just the farmers and laborers on the land, but a whole state and country that rely on these water systems and agricultural production - who have now worked ourselves into an impossible situation. Raises important questions of what makes something a public versus private resource and how to approach an increasingly complicated and existential challenge.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    This is my first DNF of the year, and I'm sorry it had to end this way. I really am interested in this topic and it is clearly a massive effort of research, but the writing doesn't work for me. It's just too long, too wordy, too pretentious. I didn't quite make it halfway through and I kept getting distracted while reading. After 10 days of wondering if I'm just too basic to get into this book, I remembered I'm not (that) basic and have read a lot of challenging books, plus this being an area of This is my first DNF of the year, and I'm sorry it had to end this way. I really am interested in this topic and it is clearly a massive effort of research, but the writing doesn't work for me. It's just too long, too wordy, too pretentious. I didn't quite make it halfway through and I kept getting distracted while reading. After 10 days of wondering if I'm just too basic to get into this book, I remembered I'm not (that) basic and have read a lot of challenging books, plus this being an area of keen interest to me, I shouldn't be having this much trouble. Maybe someday I'll pick up the audiobook if I have a million hours to kill, and finish it off. Because I would like to know the rest of the story but it was just too much of a slog. The author also seems to assume you've read his other books as prerequisites. E.g. "as I wrote about in my book ___", or "this reminded me of when I came here to investigate my father's murder" WHAT. Sorry dude, not everyone who picked up this book is your number one fan, stay within scope please. It is a shame, but clearly a case of a book and a reader not being the right match. I imagine this book will be hard for a lot of people which is too bad because I think it is an important and interesting topic that could be more of an appealing read if it were actually accessible to basics like me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    This book is both informative and entertaining, especially to those of us in California. The history and personal stories hold your interest through a well written narrative. I listened to the book and I recommend it as the storyteller is the author. The book adresses the growth of "the Valley", Sacramento, San Joaquin, Kern, Kings and others and the growth that was brought about by politicians and large land holders. But the growth of the land use has come with much controversy with increased w This book is both informative and entertaining, especially to those of us in California. The history and personal stories hold your interest through a well written narrative. I listened to the book and I recommend it as the storyteller is the author. The book adresses the growth of "the Valley", Sacramento, San Joaquin, Kern, Kings and others and the growth that was brought about by politicians and large land holders. But the growth of the land use has come with much controversy with increased water use for crops and less for home owners. The book is an important read in this age of increased land use and water consumption. The book covers the changes in crops from wheat, cotton, raisins, almonds, pistachios and grapes. A book well worth the read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mihai

    If there is one book to read on water AND the history of California (which are essentially synonymous), this would be it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John

    Mark Arax is a great writer and story teller and here he tells an incredible tale of the monumental re-plumbing of the rivers of central California to serve the needs of (Big) agriculture and growing cities and subdivisions. The story is astounding. Arax provides great context for the California boom-bust, drought-flood culture and mentality that leads to this re-plumbing by going back to the Spanish settlement of California and the discovery of gold in the 1840's at Sutter's Mill. Throughout th Mark Arax is a great writer and story teller and here he tells an incredible tale of the monumental re-plumbing of the rivers of central California to serve the needs of (Big) agriculture and growing cities and subdivisions. The story is astounding. Arax provides great context for the California boom-bust, drought-flood culture and mentality that leads to this re-plumbing by going back to the Spanish settlement of California and the discovery of gold in the 1840's at Sutter's Mill. Throughout the book the reader is introduced to fascinating characters that range from the wealthiest growers of whatever crop is in economic vogue, to the Latino workers that move north to work the agriculture. Arax always provides just the right amount of back-story on each character and has a knack for finding the contradictions and humanity (read, flaws) that allow us to feel we know their essence. One thing that I really liked is that Arax refuses to turn any of these people into villains. This would be easy to do. Instead, we are presented with people who's actions are generally the product of good intentions and the belief that they are doing good for their communities and the world. But doing good when your ag land is frequently in drought requires a lot of water and this book tells you how landowners go and get that water themselves, or induce politicians to get it for them. Whether pumping ground water or building canals to re-divert rivers, these actions are all heedless of the vast damage done to the natural and human environments and communities along the way. This becomes the take-away: that people will delude themselves; that it's ok to take it all, and at public expense and consequences be dammed. In the end, this is a reflection of all of us, regardless of your political leanings. An eye opening, well-written and important book. It makes me want to read more from Mark Arax.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Woolf

    Note: The second-to-last chapter of this book, titled "960-acre babies", is about my extended family. Jack Woolf, the family patriarch, is my grandfather; Stuart Woolf, his son and successor, is my father. The reception of the book within our family has been mixed: it does not present us in a positive light, and some feel it is factually inaccurate. (This latter group includes me, but the inaccuracies are minor: my brother Wiley, for example, was not named after Wylie Giffen, who led Sun Maid in Note: The second-to-last chapter of this book, titled "960-acre babies", is about my extended family. Jack Woolf, the family patriarch, is my grandfather; Stuart Woolf, his son and successor, is my father. The reception of the book within our family has been mixed: it does not present us in a positive light, and some feel it is factually inaccurate. (This latter group includes me, but the inaccuracies are minor: my brother Wiley, for example, was not named after Wylie Giffen, who led Sun Maid in the early 20th century.) Family publicity aside, this is the best book about Fresno, if not the Central Valley, I have ever read. It is well-written, coherent, and relevant. I wish for nothing but its enduring success and hope it will be read across the state. It is also the only book I have ever read whose content provides direct context to my life and the lives of many people I know. I wish it had been published earlier, perhaps when I was a teenager.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Craig Petinak

    For anybody thinking their opinion about water in California is well-informed, read this book and you'll learn how the history of how we arrived at today's (and tomorrow's) situation is far more nuanced than you could possibly imagine. As a grandchild of a small acreage farmer in the Central Valley, this book connects me to my ancestors in so many ways that I lost track of the stream. Really wish I could have read this book with my own grandfather and my great-great grandfather, Thomas Law Reed, For anybody thinking their opinion about water in California is well-informed, read this book and you'll learn how the history of how we arrived at today's (and tomorrow's) situation is far more nuanced than you could possibly imagine. As a grandchild of a small acreage farmer in the Central Valley, this book connects me to my ancestors in so many ways that I lost track of the stream. Really wish I could have read this book with my own grandfather and my great-great grandfather, Thomas Law Reed, whose sprawling ranch along the Kings River led to the founding of Reedley. And, thank you to Mark Arax for applying his amazing writing skills to this opus that clearly gripped him for years. This is the 3rd book of his that I've read, and I hope it isn't his last.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angela Juline

    Who knew the story of water in California could be so interesting. Seriously - I loved this book. I listened to the author read it, and I wish I had a print copy of the book to really focus on the mind-blowing information he presents. The water issues in California are not as simple as we like to make it. There have been so many deals that water from one place is sent to another place to be taken from another place to replace the water from the first place. California wouldn't be the California Who knew the story of water in California could be so interesting. Seriously - I loved this book. I listened to the author read it, and I wish I had a print copy of the book to really focus on the mind-blowing information he presents. The water issues in California are not as simple as we like to make it. There have been so many deals that water from one place is sent to another place to be taken from another place to replace the water from the first place. California wouldn't be the California we know without the many, many, and often underhanded, deals that were made my powerful people. But the fact is people are going to have to come together to find a solution - the tapping of the groundwater by wells that are dug deeper and deeper (some as deep as 2500 feet) is not sustainable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The Dreamt Land is reportage, memoir, history, and an unabashed love letter to California. The author, Mark Arax, grandson of a raisin farmer, grew up in California’s Central Valley and lives there still. He became a reporter for the LA Times, and then a writer of books. This is not a quick read, and it must have taken him years to research and write. I read it because I am fairly new to California, and I know that a good way to know the state is by understanding water policy. Also, I have a mar The Dreamt Land is reportage, memoir, history, and an unabashed love letter to California. The author, Mark Arax, grandson of a raisin farmer, grew up in California’s Central Valley and lives there still. He became a reporter for the LA Times, and then a writer of books. This is not a quick read, and it must have taken him years to research and write. I read it because I am fairly new to California, and I know that a good way to know the state is by understanding water policy. Also, I have a marine biologist friend who has warned and educated me about California’s water conundrum. She introduced me to this book, and I thank her! I’m hardly a policy wonk, but this book could make me one. Arax is a fine writer, and he has no simple answers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marieka

    I’d have given this a 4.5 if Goodreads had half points, or a 4.8 if tenths of a point were an option—I really enjoyed this book but I found it a bit too long and detailed in a few places. That was my only quibble with this book, because this guy can write! He’s so deeply connected to the Central Valley and he evokes it so well that I felt like I was standing near an aqueduct or under a pomegranate tree as I was reading. Water and farming and history could be a dry subject, but not in Mark Arax’s I’d have given this a 4.5 if Goodreads had half points, or a 4.8 if tenths of a point were an option—I really enjoyed this book but I found it a bit too long and detailed in a few places. That was my only quibble with this book, because this guy can write! He’s so deeply connected to the Central Valley and he evokes it so well that I felt like I was standing near an aqueduct or under a pomegranate tree as I was reading. Water and farming and history could be a dry subject, but not in Mark Arax’s hands. Totally recommend this one, especially to CA natives and even more so to people with roots in the area.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Terrazas

    The last chapter -- the chapter with ideas/solutions -- was unexpectedly the best. There is a lot of great detail in the first ~400 pages, but you really have to be into the topic for it to stick. It reads like a lot of facts, a lot of stories, but it's missing a connecting thread deeper than place and time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Albert Gidari

    The book was a slog through the history of water rights (theft) and agriculture in California. It cured me of any desire to own a vineyard. It is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the binge and drought that defines California agriculture today.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I would not be interested in this book if it weren't for a connection to the Central Valley. I did learn a lot about the history of water out west and a lot about water usage and conservation. Left me wondering "what if..."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    So the excessive farming in this state of drought and then flood is crazy, but at least you can eat all the things grown in California. Stupid Midwest corn and soybeans.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karrie

    Very beautifully written, I have read many California water history books and none have the descriptive eloquence Arax shows.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    everyone who has ever lived in or been to california should read this book

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

    Brilliant telling of the history of California through the lens of water use. Arax's writing is superb.

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Murray

    This is very personal history, based on detailed research and on an incredible number of interviews with the many characters who built the California central valley.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen Cook

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Tobin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carl

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vivek Tejuja

  27. 4 out of 5

    Irus

  28. 5 out of 5

    Salvatore

  29. 5 out of 5

    Madeline Shannon

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christine Young

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.