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November 2001
304 pages  

6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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On the Border
An Environmental History of San Antonio
Miller, Char
Char Miller has collected insightful interdisciplinary essays examining the human impact on the environment in and around San Antonio, Texas, over the past three centuries.
Char Miller is W. M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and director of the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism; Public Lands/Public Debates: A Century of Controversy; Out of the Woods: Essays in Environmental History; and Between Ruin and Restoration: An Environmental History of Israel.
"Maintains a good balance between environmental history as the history of public policy and environmental history as the story of the physical transformation of natural and social landscapes."—Carl Abbott, Portland State University

"With the focus on a specific city bestriding a topographical, climatological, and cultural crossroads—San Antonio—Char Miller begins a unique dialogue in the field of urban-environmental studies." —Michael Logan, Oklahoma State University

"Understanding our cultural and natural environment and how these factors have shaped our history is critical to charting a course for our future. On the Border illuminates the boundaries and currents that formed our community and continue to impact life in San Antonio. Readers seeking a nuanced portrait of our natural, political and built landscape—and a deeper understanding of our city—will be amply rewarded by this book."—Mayor Edward D. Garza, San Antonio, Texas

On the Border is loaded with fascinating material that communicates both the special place of the city in the world and the impact that we humans have had upon it.”--San Antonio Express-News

“ . . . does an excellent job on bringing prominent themes in the field of urban environmental history to bear on the history of San Antonio. . . .High standards of scholarship and writing extend to all the essays in this volume.”--Western Historical Quarterly

“Scholars interested in regional, environmental, and urban history will appreciate the book. So will thoughtful residents of San Antonio, if they hope that their city will fare better in the twenty-first century than it did in the last one.”—I>American Historical Review

“Insightful and provocative. . . . It is worth the attention of all scholars of urban environmental history.”—H-Net Review

Complete Description Reviews
History of the Urban Environment

Over the past 300 years, settlement patterns, geography, and climate have greatly affected the ecology of the south Texas landscape. Drawing on a variety of interests and perspectives, the contributors to On the Border probe these evolving relationships in and around San Antonio, the country’s ninth-largest city. Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers required open expanses of land for agriculture and ranching, displacing indigenous inhabitants. The high poverty traditionally felt by many residents, combined with San Antonio’s environment, has contributed to the development of the city’s unusually complex public health dilemmas. The national drive to preserve historic landmarks and landscapes has been complicated by the blight of homogenous urban sprawl. But no issue has been more contentious than that of water, particularly in a city entirely dependent on a single aquifer in a region of little rain. Managing these environmental concerns is the chief problem facing the city in the new century.


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