“A brilliantly entertaining history of America's original natural wonder and its heedless boosters and failed visionaries.”
—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“This is a deep and exhilarating book. Ginger Strand opens up a curiosity cabinet of wonders: two-legged dogs, radioactive end zones, shrunken heads, honeymoon suites, and one very powerful waterfall. This material could have been played for irony but Strand chose profundity instead, burrowing down through self-conscious layers of artifice until she arrives at a place both strange and vital.”
—David Gessner, author of Soaring with Fidel

“Niagara Falls is where America discovered the sublime. And Ginger Strand has discovered everything that happened since. If you want to understand our relationship with the natural world, you better read this book.”
—Bill McKibben, author ofThe Bill McKibben Reader
Americans consider Niagara Falls a natural wonder, but the Falls aren't very natural anymore. Water diverted, riverbed reshaped, landscape redesigned, stabilized and flanked with cheap thrills, the Falls are more a monument to man's meddling than to nature's strength. Seamlessly combining science, history, aesthetics, and personal narrative, Inventing Niagara traces the path of America's best-loved natural wonder from sublime icon to engineering marvel to camp spectacle. Along the way, we discover a hidden history: the Mohawk chief who wrested the Falls from his adopted tribe, the revered town father who secretly assisted slavecatchers, the wartime workers who unknowingly helped build the Bomb, and the missing pharaoh who spent a century incognito at the Falls. With an uncanny ability to zero in on the buried truth, Ginger Strand introduces us to underwater dams, freaks of nature, graverobbers, mythical maidens, and 280,000 radioactive mice. Inventing Niagara is the story of natural wonder in America, illuminating what the Falls have to tell us about our history, our environment, and ourselves.

“It's a wonder that a book this fun can be so thoughtful, so deeply felt.”      —The New York Times

“. . . a hybrid of cultural historian and indefatigable roving reporter, who can't help taking quirky pleasure sometimes in what ought to be an utterly grim story.”                                             —Newsweek

“Strand's book is a kick, illuminating and inflected with her wry voice. ”                  —Fresh Air

“Ginger Strand is in possession of a sharp eye, a biting wit, a beguiling sense of fun -- and a magnificent obsession. ”                               —Bloomberg

“Strand dives headlong into what could have been treacherous waters for a lesser writer, melding a compelling narrative of ravaged nature, unchecked industry and government deceit with Niagara kitsch.”                                   —The Buffalo News

“Strand is in the vanguard of new generation of writers about nature and the environment who are discontented with reverie and marvel, wary of nostalgia and prelapsarian pastorals, aware of that all-too-human striving to overcome nature that is itself a force of nature.”                   —Barnes and Noble Review

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