River Flowing from the Sunrise: An Environmental History of the Lower San Juan

By Aton, James M. and Robert S. McPherson

ISBN 9780874214031

Price $28.95

The authors recount twelve millennia of history along the lower San Juan River, much of it the story of mostly unsuccessful human attempts to make a living from the river's arid and fickle environment. From the Anasazi to government dam builders, from Navajo to Mormon herders and farmers, from scientific explorers to busted miners, the San Juan has attracted more attention and fueled more hopes than such a remote, unpromising, and muddy stream would seem to merit.

James Aton and Robert McPherson successfully collaborate to present a succinct environmental history of the Lower San Juan river in River Flowing From The Sunrise. Profusely illustrated throughout with period photos, this seminal survey ranges from the Clovis Hunters and Corn Farmers of prehistory, to views of the region as "sacred land" by Navajos, Paiutes, and Utes. River Flowing From The Sunrise presents a fascinating and informative history of exploration and geological science defining the river; and presents chapters dedicated to livestock, agriculture, city building, mining, the impact of the federal government with dams and river wildlife; and the role of local and national values with respect to the San Juan's symbolisms and realities. River Flowing From The Sunrise concludes with a superb epilogue "Visions: Flowing from the Sunrise or a Water Spigot?". The highly recommended, accessible, reader friendly text is enhanced with notes, a bibliography, and an index. River Flowing From The Sunrise could well serve as a template for similar environmental histories of other major and minor rivers elsewhere in the country.