Letter from the far West Coast
"Flowing slowly down the middle of Ireland, the Shannon has flooded for millennia. 'Draining the Shannon' was an aspiration of lrish independence. In the 1950s, after another calamitous flood, the government borrowed Colonel Louis Rydell from the US Army Corps of Engineers, a notable tamer of the mighty Mississippi. He mapped channels to be dredged, warned of cost and complexity, and moved on to the ooding of the lndus, in Pakistan. His advice Inspired decades of lreland's state drainage, its rough dredging leaving many lowland rivers as canals, their banks heaped with spoil."