Reviews

Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Historically, the Chicago River was a sluggish, low-gradient stream that flowed into the southwest corner of Lake Michigan. Hill's book describes for the lay reader how early settlers and 200 years of urban development manipulated the river's depth and configuration, its routes and gradient, its contents, and the direction of its flow. The initial chapters review the geology and physical geography of the river's drainage basin, which lies only a few feet above Lake Michigan, making settlement along the north and south forks susceptible to flooding. Households and industry, especially meat packers, used the river as a sewer. Subsequent chapters outline the engineering measures undertaken to fully control the river, from the completion of a river flow reversal scheme in 1871--forcing it to drain from Lake Michigan southwest to the Illinois River--to the Deep Tunnel project currently underway. Written in popular, nontechnical prose, the text is suitable for secondary school libraries and is of local and regional interest. Numerous historic maps (some very difficult to read), photographs, notes, and lists of conservation and river interest groups conclude the book. All levels. K. B. Raitz; University of Kentucky