Books, Noted
Brief Reviews Of Books New to the Shelves of the CLUI Library

Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society
Lucy R. Lippard, The New Press, 1997
This book zips all over the place, and covers some new territory in between. Suitably, it expresses a sensibility that combines the seemingly disparate poles of coastal Maine and northern New Mexico (and what they iconographically represent), places where the author, a grande dame of land/art/culture theory, hangs her hats.

Taking Measures Across the American Landscape
James Corner and Alex MacLean, Yale University Press, 1996
A large format book with wonderful aerial photographs of human-induced landscapes across the country (by Alex MacLean), as well as some interesting graphics by James Corner, a landscape architect.

Dreamland: Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51
Phil Patton, Villard, 1998
A good overview of the cultures and perspectives surrounding the classified Groom Lake Base in the Dreamland airspace of Nevada. Especially learned and vivid in its account of the secret aviation history related to the base, and the community of civilian "interceptors" who try to learn about what transpires inside the now notorious Area 51.

Big Dams and Other Dreams: The Six Companies Story
Donald E. Wolf, University of Oklahoma Press, 1996
The "Six Companies" group was created to build the Hoover Dam, and consisted of what would become, as a result of the success of the dam, the largest building and engineering firms in the world - among them Bechtel, Kaiser, and Morrison-Knudsen. This book, written by a civil engineer, is a much-needed account of the development of these companies, which through massive private and government construction projects, literally shaped the world.

Atlas of the New West
Center of the American West - University of Colorado at Boulder, W. W. Norton and Co., 1997
An entertaining "new" (postmodern?) atlas of the contemporary West, this large format publication features a variety of thematic maps depicting the distribution of things such as microbreweries, cowboy poetry festivals, superfund sites, Patagonia outfitters, and private jet airports, across the geographic area defined by the authors as the New West - which doesn't include most of California, something the authors have since publically regretted. Lots of tables, charts, and text too, as well as photographs by Peter Goin.

Sandia National Laboratories: The Postwar Decade
Necah Stewart Furman, University of New Mexico Press, 1990.
An official history of the first years of the Sandia Corporation, as it grew out of the Manhattan Project and into the primary organization responsible for the creation of nuclear weaponry. (Availability note: though out of print, copies are often available from the Otowi Station Bookstore in Los Alamos, and the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque).

If You Poison Us: Uranium and Native Americans
Peter Eichstaedt, Red Crane Books, 1994
An account of the effects of the uranium mining boom on the Four Corners area of the southwest. This area had perhaps the highest concentration of uranium mines and mills, many of which were on Native American land. The legacy of radioactive contamination is only beginning to be addressed.

Juarez: The Laboratory of our Future
Charles Bowden, Aperture Press, 1998.
A photo book about the El Paso/Juarez border region, with text by the veteran borderlands writer Charles Bowden. A horrific tableaux of poverty, violence, and victimization. Preface by Noam Chomsky.

Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster
Mike Davis, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 1998.
Mike Davis follows up 1990's "City of Quartz" with this second book, mostly about the "natural" terrors of LA, including the underrated threats posed by mountain lions, tornados, and plague-infested squirrels. The second in the trilogy of books Mike Davis is working on, the third of which is about environmental history and war, which we look forward to with even greater interest.

The Tainted Desert: Environmental Ruin in the American West
Valarie L. Kuletz, Routledge, 1998.
Largely about the radioactive legacy of nuclear weapons development and testing, and the subsequent scattering of radioactive wastes across the Southwest. Kuletz focuses especially on the Native American populations so adversely affected by this cold war fought on American soil.

Also: Check out your local travel store for recent Moon Travel Handbooks: good, though mainstream, individual state guidebooks, which can be scanned for the occasional surprise. The only available guidebook for many states. Among the recently published: Maine, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Southern California.