Power and Control in the Imperial Valley
Nature, Agribusiness, and Workers on the California Borderland, 1900-1940
Agricultural History - Borderlands Studies - Labor History - Western History
6 x 9, 288 pp.
14 b&w photos. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 04/22/2016
Connecting the Greater West Series
  cloth
Price:        $43.00 s

978-1-62349-197-0
  paper
Price:        $24.95 s

978-1-62349-463-6
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2015 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

Power and Control in the Imperial Valley

Nature, Agribusiness, and Workers on the California Borderland, 1900-1940

By Benny J. Andrés Jr.

Power and Control in the Imperial Valley examines the evolution of irrigated farming in the Imperial-Mexicali Valley, an arid desert straddling the California–Baja California border. Bisected by the international boundary line, the valley drew American investors determined to harness the nearby Colorado River to irrigate a million acres on both sides of the border. The “conquest” of the environment was a central theme in the history of the valley.

Colonization in the valley began with the construction of a sixty-mile aqueduct from the Colorado River in California through Mexico. Initially, Mexico held authority over water delivery until settlers persuaded Congress to construct the All-American Canal. Control over land and water formed the basis of commercial agriculture and in turn enabled growers to use the state to procure inexpensive, plentiful immigrant workers.

Benny Andrés is an associate professor of history and Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina–Charlotte. He holds a PhD from the University of New Mexico.

What Readers Are Saying:

"I believe that his book does make a significant contribution to scholarship. I believe that the greatest original contribution lies in the field of agricultural farm labor. The coverage of Asian, Mexican, white, and black workers was outstanding. As a scholarly volume it fills an important gap in the regional scholarship. There are other books by scholars that explore the borderlands and agricultural policies, including Walsh, Ward, etc., but I am not aware of a scholarly volume that brings together labor, water, and social scholarship in such a good balance. This books fills such a need."--Evan R. Ward, associate professor of history, Brigham Young University


“In Power and Control in the Imperial Valley, Benny J. Andrés Jr. offers us a richly textured history of the taming of the Colorado River, its redirection through the construction of the All-American Canal, and the impact this water had on transforming Southern California’s desiccated deserts into some of the world’s most richly productive agricultural land. The story told here of the commodification of land and labor, of the rise of vertically integrated industrial production, and the disciplining of water and its work force is a very impressive one.”—Ramón A. Gutiérrez, The Preston & Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor of American History, University of Chicago

“Interweaving the insights of social, environmental, and borderlands history, Andrés gives us a powerful transnational epic of the boosters and corporations that sought to dominate the Imperial Valley, and the men and women on both sides of the border who fought back, making the valley their own.”—Samuel Truett, Associate Professor of History, University of New Mexico

"Benny J. Andres Jr. has produced a remarkably detailed chronicle of this historic transformation, based on the wealth of primary materials. No one has chronicled the region's social history so richly until now."— Journal of American History
 

"A significant contribution to the literature of California agribusiness and labor relations in the twentieth century"— Pacific Historical Review

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