Rivers Run Through Us

A Natural and Human History of Great Rivers of North America

By (author): Eric B. Taylor
Foreword by: Mark Angelo
ISBN 9781771605113
Hardcover | Publication Date: October 1, 2021
Book Dimensions: 6 in. x 9 in.
464 Pages

About the Book

An engaging, informative, and personal exploration of some of the great rivers of North America.

The physical nature of rivers has influenced the course of human history and development, whether it be in the prosecution of major conflicts (US Civil War), patterns of development and social change (dams on the Columbia River), the economy (gold rushes, agricultural development), or international relations (US and Mexico and the Colorado River). The centrality of human–river interactions has had great impacts on the biodiversity of rivers (salmon and other threatened species) that have been the focus of historical and current intense conflicts of values (e.g., water in the Sacramento–San Joaquin system and California “water wars” in general).

Of the thousands of rivers in North America, 10 are profiled in Rivers Run Through Us:

  • Mackenzie River
  • Yukon River
  • Fraser River
  • Columbia River
  • Sacramento–San Joaquin River
  • Colorado River
  • Rio Grande/Rio Bravo River
  • Mississippi River
  • Hudson River
  • St. Lawrence River

In this engaging new work, Eric Taylor takes readers on a grand tour of 10 of North America’s more important river systems, exploring one fundamental issue for each that illustrates the critical role each particular stream has had — and will have — in the human development of North America.

About the Author(s)

Eric B. Taylor is a professor of zoology and director of the fish collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. He studies the patterns and processes promoting the origins and persistence of biodiversity and the application of such knowledge to conservation, especially in fishes. He graduated with a Ph.D. in zoology from UBC in 1989, spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University, then 18 months as a visiting research fellow at the Pacific Biological Station before returning to UBC in 1993. Between 2000 and 2018 he was involved with COSEWIC (the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and was its chair between 2014 and 2018. In 2016 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Praise for Rivers Run Through Us:

“An inspired and thoughtfully informed guided raft ride down the great rivers of North America.”
Robert W. Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health and author of The Columbia Icefield, Our Vanishing Glaciers, The Anthropocene Disruption, Rain Comin’ Down: Water, Memory and Identity in a Changed World and numerous other titles

“Blending expert science, cultural history, and no small measure of valuable insights, Eric Taylor’s Rivers Run Through Us layers the geological history of watersheds with an account of short-sighted industrial development and its ecological consequences. His survey of a pattern of use and abuse common since the 19th century provides an intelligent and necessary foundation. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in how we have bent rivers to our will and transported ourselves to an era of water shortages, habitat loss, and species extinctions.”
Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, author of A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change

“My new favorite book about rivers. Eric Taylor’s grand tour of major North American basins is socially and geographically perceptive.”
—Laurence C. Smith, author of Rivers of Power and The World in 2050

“Rivers are products of the landscapes we occupy and use, and so they are reflections of our cultures. In that sense, each river is a report card on a civilization. Eric Taylor takes us deep into the nature and meaning of some of the most magnificent and important rivers on this continent. The science and writing are exceptional, and the timing is critical. Never before have our rivers and civilization faced such daunting threats than in the midst of a climate crisis that is changing everything. Taylor has stepped up just in time to help us understand the deeper meanings of our relationships with the rivers that sustain us.”
—Kevin Van Tighem, author of Heart Waters: Sources of the Bow River; Wild Roses Are Worth It: Reimagining the Alberta Advantage; Bears Without Fear and several other bestsellers