In The Organic Machine, Richard White, a distinguished historian and leading scholar of the American West, explores the intimate relationship between nature and mankind along the Columbia River. Working on the cutting edge of environmental and social history, White demonstrates how, over the centuries, both native peoples and settlers have continually remade the river, treating it as a machine designed to churn out energy and sustenance. He assesses the impact on the Northwest ecology of enterprises that have marked the river's history, from salmon fishing to the Hanford Energy Works nuclear plant, and eloquently reveals the insights and illusions of those who work with the river.