Waterfall : Nature and Culture

Hudson, Brian (2012) Waterfall : Nature and Culture. Reaktion Books Ltd, London, UK.

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Many people take pleasure in visiting waterfalls and much has been written on the subject. Numerous accounts of Niagara Falls were published after Hennepin's late seventeenth-centure descriptions, particularly from the early nineteenth century, but is was only later that other waterfalls became the subject of books. George Holley's Niagara and Other Famous Cataracts of the World, published in 1883, and John Gibson's Great Waterfalls, Cataracts and Geysers, published in 1887, are early examples of global accounts of major falls.

Most books about waterfalls are guides to the falls of a particular country, state or region. Apart from a few slim illustrated volumes, few books have been puslished on the world's waterfalls since Edward Rashleigh's Among the Waterfalls (1935). Most of these are slim pictorial volumes, some aimed at the children's market. Geologist Richard Maxwell Pearl published a series of waterfall articles in his journal Earth Science between 1973 and 1975, apparently with the intention of turning them into a book, but this never materialized.

My book, the culmination of more than a decade of waterfalls research, is comprehensive in its approach, but is not intended to describe as many of the world's waterfalls as possible. This is far from my aim, and readers may be disappointed at my omission of falls they feel deserved mention. What I have attempted to do is celebrate the delights of these beautiful wonders of nature by considering them from many points of view, emphasizing the roles that they play in the human experience.

To be as representative as possible, I draw on examples of waterfalls from all over the world, some famous, many not. North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania and, with recent global warming, the Earth's polar regions, all feature in the discussion. Even though there are already enough books and articles about Niagara Falls to fill a large library, it has been impossible to avoid making frequent reference to this great cataract, which has been so important in the history of travel and tourism, power generation, urban development and art. Amoung the issues that I consider is the human impact on waterfalls, particularly the effects of hydropower schemes and tourism development. Also considered are artificial waterfalls, which have long been features of the designed landscape. Their contemporay role is poignantly exemplified in the design of the National September 11 Memorial, in which the footprints of the Twin Towers are traced by walls of waterfalls.

A geographer and urban and regional planner by training, I have ventured into many other fields of knowledge that are outside my areas of expertise. I apologize for any errors that I may have made in my book and invite correction.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 53337
Item Type: Book
ISBN: 9781861899187
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: ?copyright 2012 The author.
Deposited On: 27 Aug 2012 22:19
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 15:08

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