Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Spring 2000). Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Students in my Water, Culture, and Power course must read Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert (1993), but Peter Carrels's Uphill Against Water will now become required reading as well. Carrels provides a grassroots perspective on twentieth-century water policy in the United States that complements the more macro analysis in Reisner's work. Writing in his hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota, Carrels tells the story from the vantage point of farmers who were supposed to be the beneficiaries of the massive Oahe Irrigation Project in northeastern South Dakota. How over a thirty-year period they became its successful opponents is the story line of the volume's sixteen chapters.