On the one side: snake-oil salesmen selling land, politicians seeking more consituents, consultants boosting their chances at government grants with Pollyannish lies of a land of plenty in need of settlement.
On the other side: responsible surveyors saying "We shouldn't move so many people into this area; it's a desert."
It's a true tale of the old West by Wallace Stegner, talking about the life of John Wesley Powell, an explorer, surveyor, and breaker of bad news ("It's a desert.").
Labels: barbaric, book, travel