BOOKS: WHERE RIVERS RUN DRY

SEMITRUTHS, BEGUILING LIES AND OTHER GRACEFULLY TOLD TALES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE U.S. SOUTHWEST

Here's a big, rambling, reportorial discourse on the American Southwest that seems to have begun as an investigation into the ways in which the region's history has been written since ancient times by the scarcity of water. That would have been logical and achievable--a good, sensible subject with a reasonable stopping point. But by his own account, author Alex Shoumatoff, a veteran writer about distant parts for the New Yorker, spent too much time on the project for a neat, orderly account, traveled too far, read too many books, heard too many semitruths and beguiling lies from too many plausible liars...

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