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February 11, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE ORGANIC MACHINE: The Remaking of the Columbia River by Richard White (Hill & Wang: $7.95; 130 pp.). As he traces the history of human use of the Columbia River, White argues that humanity needs to rethink its approach to vital resources. He maintains that the river represents a vast system of energy transfer involving the sun, gravity, water, plants and fish. Human failure to perceive this underlying reality, he argues, has allowed the logging, nuclear refining and electric power industries to transform the Columbia irrevocably and to destroy the salmon runs that first attracted people to its basin.

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