The Age of Water
The Urban Environment in the North of France, A.D. 300-1800
Environmental History
6 x 9, 312 pp.
52 figures. 11 tables. Notes. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 10/10/2013
Environmental History Series
  paper
Price:        $29.95 s

978-1-62349-065-2
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1989 Abel Wolman Award, presented by the Public Works Historical Society

The Age of Water

The Urban Environment in the North of France, A.D. 300-1800

André E. Guillerme

Water is essential to human life, as mythology, religion, and history alike have recognized. Its availability has been a key determinant in patterns of settlement and agriculture, but its crucial role in shaping the layout and economic development of cities has not always been recognized. This structuralist history, first published in French in 1983, traces sixteen centuries of hydrographic technological change and urban development in eighteen cities of northern France.

André E. Guillerme’s focus on the uses of water clearly illustrates the interaction of military, economic, technological, political, intellectual, and symbolic factors in urbanization. He skillfully utilizes data from urban demography and draws extensively on scholarship in a wide range of fields to sketch the history of urban planning and technology and their effect on the environment. From his incisive analysis, a complex picture emerges of demographic and socioeconomic evolution.

“Guillerme’s work provides us with a fascinating insight into western history through a survey of the town-water relationship in all its multifarious implications over a wide period.”—Journal of European Economic History

“The author, an engineer rather than an historian, provides a provocative thesis concerning changes in man-made waterways in eighteen cities of the Paris basin.”—American Historical Review

Number Nine: Environmental History Series

ANDRÉ E. GUILLERME, urban engineer and historian, is professor of History of Technology at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in Paris. His research deals with history of industrial landscape, construction history, and technical gesture (19th & 20th century), specializing in the study of urban change in industrialized nations.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Guillerme’s work provides us with a fascinating insight into western history through a survey of the town-water relationship in all its multifarious implications over a wide period.”—Journal of European Economic History

“The author, an engineer rather than an historian, provides a provocative thesis concerning changes in man-made waterways in eighteen cities of the Paris basin.”—American Historical Review

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