- € 12,99
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 who's 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-then-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.
Water to the Angels includes 8 pages of photographs.
Standiford (Last Train to Paradise) takes on and defends (despite claims that the book is merely factual) the controversial and steadfast William Mulholland, who developed and oversaw the seemingly impossible construction of an aqueduct from Owens Valley to Los Angeles in the early 20th century. The development of a Los Angeles water system that enabled and responded to the city's quick growth is deeply entwined with the politics of the era and allegations of corruption, though this book does not do the topic justice. Standiford admits this is "not a work of traditional scholarship," but something he chose to do for the sake of the general reader. Yet the book is confusingly organized, with a tangential, but attention-grabbing, first chapter (which features a dam that broke, flooding a valley and killing hundreds at the end of Mulholland's career); unusual juxtaposition of anecdotes; and an overall conflict in its premise is it a biography of Mulholland or the story of the aqueduct? Pacing is also unfortunate, as the book lags in its unnecessarily long description of the building of the aqueduct and doesn't pick up again until the end. What could have been an intensely interesting affair unfortunately lacks detail richness and fails to cohere.