a black and white photo of the Grand Coulee Dam

A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia

by Blaine Harden Author

In this deep dive into the history of the Columbia River and the human forces that have shaped it, journalist Blaine Harden travels the length of the river by barge, car, and on foot in order to understand how it went from a wild and untamed torrent to the series of puddles and reservoirs that it is today. Written in the late 90s, Harden's book is more relevant today than ever, as salmon populations continue to decline, industrial waste raises heavy metal levels, and companies like Google suck up massive quantities of water for their data centers. Part history, part memoir, and part lament, this is a powerful story about a once-mighty river that has been dammed, diverted, and subdued to feed the insatiable demands of agriculture and industry throughout the Pacific Northwest.