Water to the Angels by Les Standiford

Water to the Angels

By Les Standiford

  • Release Date: 2015-03-31
  • Genre: United States
Score: 4.5
From 9 Ratings
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The author of Last Train to Paradise tells the story of the largest public water project ever created—William Mulholland’s Los Angeles aqueduct—a story of Gilded Age ambition, hubris, greed, and one determined man who's vision shaped the future and continues to impact us today.

In 1907, Irish immigrant William Mulholland conceived and built one of the greatest civil engineering feats in history: the aqueduct that carried water 223 miles from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Los Angeles—allowing this small, resource-challenged desert city to grow into a modern global metropolis. Drawing on new research, Les Standiford vividly captures the larger-then-life engineer and the breathtaking scope of his six-year, $23 million project that would transform a region, a state, and a nation at the dawn of its greatest century.

With energy and colorful detail, Water to the Angels brings to life the personalities, politics, and power—including bribery, deception, force, and bicoastal financial warfare—behind this dramatic event. At a time when the importance of water is being recognized as never before—considered by many experts to be the essential resource of the twenty-first century—Water to the Angels brings into focus the vigor of a fabled era, the might of a larger than life individual, and the scale of a priceless construction project, and sheds critical light on a past that offers insights for our future.

Water to the Angels includes 8 pages of photographs.


  • Interesting Book

    By Wheeler Ted
    This was a very interesting book for me as I live in Ventura County near the City of Santa Paula where much of the damage and death from the St Francis dam occurred. There is in fact, a statue in the local park depicting a heroic policeman on his motorcycle riding through the area warming the residents of the coming flood. I have also spent many years, and still to this day, going up to the Mammoth Lakes and Mono Lakes area, which are the northern boundaries of the watershed claimed by the L.A. DWP, so I clearly recognize all the areas, which therefore made it even more interesting for me. However, as interesting as I found this book to read, I found the chapters regarding the movie Chinatown, which was based on a loose depiction of Mulholland and the aqueduct, rather irrelevant as it was just that, mostly fiction. Unfortunately too, more could have been written about the damage caused by the dam in Ventura County, even to the areas of Ventura, all the way to the ocean. But overall, it was an easy and very interesting book to read. It is definitely a great book to read if you are interested in the history of Los Angeles and California.