Book Review — Laurence C. Smith’s Rivers of Power: A Reminder of the Value of Rivers

Near the end of his book, Rivers of Power: How a Natural Force Raised Kingdoms, Destroyed Civilizations, and Shapes Our World, Laurence C. Smith asks the reader to imagine a world without rivers. He describes a high-altitude, inhospitable, and cold environment forcing humans to huddle near oases and coastlines. He considers if our cities would exist. He wonders if trade or movement could have ever happened (Smith, 2020, pg 316). This imagined scenario reinforces Smith’s argument: the rivers whose resources we take…