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A sweeping natural history of rivers as the engines of civilization
They have opened new frontiers, founded cities, settled borders, and fed billions of us. They promote life, forge peace, grant power, and capriciously destroy everything in their path. Rivers, more than any road, technology, or political leader, have shaped the course of civilization. And even as they have become increasingly domesticated, they remain a powerful global force, one that is more critical than ever to our future.
In Rivers of Power, geographer Laurence C. Smith tells the sweeping story of rivers and how they made us. Rivers, he shows, also shape us in less obvious ways. Our quest for mastery of rivers over the centuries has spurred staggering advances in engineering, science and law. Rivers support the global food trade, provide the world's electricity, and most of the world's greatest cities are positioned on their banks or deltas. The territories of nations, their cultural and economic ties to one another, and the migrations of people are shaped by the topographic divides they carve across the world.
Beautifully told and expansive in scope, Rivers of Power reveals how and why rivers have so profoundly shaped civilization throughout human history, and examines the importance this vast, arterial power holds for our future.