STRANGERS DEVOUR THE LAND
by BOYCE RICHARDSON 342 pages. Knopf. $12.50.
It is a measure of American priorities that Paul Bunyan never served a day for raping Mother Nature. He became, in fact, a hero, his exploits serving as the wishful equivalents of a developing technology whose bulldozers, logging sleds and chain saws would eventually dwarf the feats of any legendary giant. Compared with the James Bay Development Corp., for example, Bunyan might have been playing in a sandbox.
In 1971, the Quebec government-run corporation announced plans to transform an area nearly the size of California with a series of dams and reservoirs. The...