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The Chicago River.

The Chicago River

Libby Hill

Southern Illinois University Press

1915 University Press Drive, SIUC Mail Code 6806, Carbondale, IL 62901

9780809337071, $24.50, PB, 328pp,

Synopsis: "The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History" by Libby Hill is social and ecological account of the Chicago River. Hill tells the story of how a sluggish waterway emptying into Lake Michigan became central to the creation of Chicago as a major metropolis and transportation hub.

In "The Chicago River", Hill deftly weaves the perspectives of science, engineering, commerce, politics, economics, and the natural world into a chronicle of the river from its earliest geologic history through its repeated adaptations to the city that grew up around it. While explaining the river's role in massive public works, such as drainage and straightening, designed to address the infrastructure needs of a growing population, Hill focuses on the synergy between the river and the people of greater Chicago, whether they be the tribal cultures that occupied the land after glacial retreat, the first European inhabitants, or more recent residents.

In the first edition, Hill brought together years of original research and the contributions of dozens of experts to tell the Chicago River's story up until 2000. This newly revised and expanded second edition features discussions of disinfection, Asian carp, green strategies, the evolution of the Chicago Riverwalk, and the river's rejuvenation. It also explores how earlier solutions to problems challenge today's engineers, architects, environmentalists, and public policy agencies as they address contemporary issues.

Revealing the river to be a microcosm of the uneasy relationship between nature and civilization, "The Chicago River" offers the tools and knowledge for the city's residents to be champions on the river's behalf.

Editorial Note: Libby Hill is an environmentalist and educator who has worked as a librarian and a college instructor. She can be found in the woods or on the beach volunteering for ecological restoration projects, writing for her local newspaper, or working with others on regional environmental issues.

Critique: An impressively researched and expertly presented study, "The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Chicago River" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $23.27).

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Title Annotation:The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History
Author:Dumont, Helen
Publication:MBR Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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