Edited by Timothy J. Iannuzzi, David F. Ludwig, Jason C. Kinnell, Jennifer M. Wallin, William H. Desvousges, and Richard W. Dunford
2002, 200pp, ISBN: 1-884940-27-7
The rise and fall, and rise again of an American river is the theme of A Common Tragedy: History of an Urban River. This work traces historical events along a waterway in one of our nation’s most congested metropolitan centers. The authors investigate the delicate dance between man and environment from prehistory through the events of today. In many instances, the magnitude of some of these events could not be fully recognized until an historical survey such as this laid them out for the modern reader.
This “Passaic River” study is scholarly with scores of charts, lists, chronologies, footnotes, and a rich bibliography for the specialist. Still, the text “flows” for the average reader as well. From the earliest geological and historical descriptions the reader is transported through time to the beginning of reconstitution of a “dead” or the “second worst polluted river in America” into a recovering and rediscovered asset. Newark and the more than three hundred communities that line the Passaic’s shores have benefited and taken from it for generations, and are beginning to look at the River as a major resource in their 21st century redevelopment. Lessons taken from the waterfront revivals of other major cities such as Baltimore and San Antonio are being heeded. The cycle of life emerging from water may well be reenacted on the Passaic River today.
Topics included in this Passaic River compendium include its geological and historical past; the role of the Dutch, English, and American developers; the changes in shoreline and wetlands over three centuries; and the role of industrialization and urbanism.
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