This Delta, This Land is a comprehensive
environmental history of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta--the first one
to place the Delta's economic and cultural history in an
environmental context. The Delta, the floodplain between two great
rivers in the northwestern corner of Mississippi, has changed
enormously since the Civil War. Agriculture, lumbering, and
flood-management schemes have transformed it beyond
recognition--and beyond any prospects for a full recovery.
However, says Mikko Saikku, the 150 years following the Civil
War brought greater environmental change than we generally realize.
Indeed, the long-term environmental history of the Delta is much
more complex than our current view of it, which privileges recent
periods rather than presenting the entire continuum. Looking across
thousands of years, Saikku examines successive human societies in
the Delta, drawing connections between environmental and social
problems and noting differences between Native Americans and
Euro-Americans in their economies, modes of production, and
Saikku's range of sources is astonishing: travel literature,
naturalists' writings, government records, company archives,
archaeological data, private correspondence, and more. As he
documents how such factors as climate and water levels shaped the
Delta, he also reveals the human aspects of the region's natural
history, including land reclamation, slave and sharecropper
economies, ethnic and racial perceptions of land ownership and
stewardship, and even blues music.
Subjects: History, Environmental Science
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