The largest, most costly domestic public works project ever undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Tenn-Tom’s 234 miles, five dams, and ten locks entailed the movement of more earth than was required to dig the Panama Canal. In a monumental history of the nation’s largest navigation project, Jeffrey K. Stine records the struggle between the interests determined to build the waterway and the forces pitted against its completion. Based on extensive research, Mixing the Waters explores the intersection of environmental history, the history of technology, and U.S. political history. It chronicles the profound changes introduced by the environmental movement and addresses the importance of changing societal values, an issue at the heart of understanding the evolving relationship between technology and the environment.
[Stine] has likely written the definitive history of the navigation project. The analysis is balanced and thoroughly researched, and captures the nuances of changing values and attitudes toward pork-barrel politics, benefit-cost evaluation, and interest group politics in American natural resource policy from the 1930s through the early 1980s.
A study that is competently written and deeply researched, with heavy emphasis on primary sources, a solid grounding in the existing secondary literature, and a welcome leaven of oral history. It is a model monograph, which should find an audience not only among public historians, whose craft it exemplifies, but also among makers of policy in the construction and environmental agencies whose concerns it treats with insight and generally admirable balance.
–The Public Historian