The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism
by Robert W. Righter
277 pages, hardover $30: Oxford University press, 2005

Robert Righter, a history professor at Southern Methodist University, chronicles the damming of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. Although the water needs of San Francisco won out over preservation of the valley, the loss galvanized environmentalists to battle other dams. "It constantly reminds many Americans that the sanctity of our national parks and scenic lands cannot necessarily be taken for granted," writes Righter.