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History General

The River Returns

An Environmental History of the Bow

by (author) Christopher Armstrong, Matthew Evenden & H.V. Nelles

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2011
General, Environmental Science
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price

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Alberta's iconic river has been dammed and plumbed, made to spin hydro-electric turbines, and used to cleanse Calgary. Artificial lakes in the mountains rearrange its flow; downstream weirs and ditches divert it to irrigate the parched prairie. Far from being wild, the Bow is now very much a human product: its fish are as manufactured as its altered flow, changed water quality, and newly stabilized and forested banks. The River Returns brings the story of the Bow River's transformation full circle through an exploration of the recent revolution in environmental thinking and regulation that has led to new limits on what might be done with and to the river. Rivers have been studied from many perspectives, but too often the relationship between nature and people, between rivers and the cultures that have grown up beside them, have been separated. The River Returns illuminates the ways in which humans, both inadvertently and consciously, have interacted with nature to make the Bow.

About the authors

Christopher Armstrong is co-author, with H.V. Nelles, of The Painted Valley: Artists Along Alberta's Bow River, 1845-2000.

Christopher Armstrong's profile page

Matthew Evenden is a professor in the Department of Geography as well as the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the University of British Columbia.

Matthew Evenden's profile page

H.V. Nelles is the L.R. Wilson Professor of Canadian History at McMaster University and Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at York University. Both have written and published extensively on Canadian history and are widely recognized as two of the foremost scholars in the field.

H.V. Nelles' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The River Returns is a fascinating and detailed story by three eminent scholars, one that breaks new ground while adhering to the rigours demanded by historical research and inquiry. The scholarship is nothing short of outstanding and should be brought to both public and academic attention." Max Foran, University of Calgary

"Well written, illustrated, and referenced, this volume is a powerful addition to understanding humanity's ecological footprints. Summing Up: Highly recommended." Choice Magazine

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