Kenna R. Archer

Unruly Waters

A Social and Environmental History of the Brazos River

University of New Mexico Press 2015

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Environmental StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in the American WestNew Books Network May 9, 2016 Christine Lamberson

In Unruly Waters: A Social and Environmental History of the Brazos River (University of New Mexico, 2015), Kenna R. Archer examines the history of...

In Unruly Waters: A Social and Environmental History of the Brazos River (University of New Mexico, 2015), Kenna R. Archer examines the history of the Brazos river. The river, which runs from eastern New Mexico through Texas and to the Gulf of Mexico, is not among the most well-known rivers in the nation. Over the past two centuries, despite their best efforts, politicians and engineers have mostly failed at numerous development projects. They have been unable to reroute, dam, contain, or otherwise force the river to confirm to human will. In this new book, Archer examines how the challenges posed by this river are just as important as more famous, successful river projects, to understanding the relationship between American faith in technology and the environment.

In this episode, Archer discusses how she came to be interested in this challenging river by making her way from environmental science to history. She tells us about the new book and its insights for understanding our nations long history of trying to impose our will on the environment with technology. Unruly Waters was a finalist for the 2016 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. Dr. Archer is an instructor of history at Angelo State University.


Christine Lamberson is an Assistant Professor of History at Angelo State University. Her research and teaching focuses on 20th-century U.S. political and cultural history. She’s currently working on a book manuscript about the role of violence in shaping U.S. political culture in the 1960s and 1970s. She can be reached at [email protected]

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