A River No More

Young Kingfishers. The bird book: illustrating in natural colors more than seven hundred North American birds; also several hundred photographs of their nests and eggs by Chester A. Reed.

Young Kingfishers. The bird book: illustrating in natural colors more than seven hundred North American birds; also several hundred photographs of their nests and eggs by Chester A. Reed.

By William Yardley for the New York Times

Philip Fradkin, who died on July 8th, was a writer whose 13 books often focused on the legacy of environmental destruction in the West and took aim at what he and others viewed as the persistent misunderstanding and simplification of the region and its culture by many in the East.
One, “A River No More: The Colorado River and the West,” detailed how water wars, dams and development devastated that river’s natural course.

Philip Lawrence Fradkin was born in Manhattan on Feb. 28, 1935, the son of Dr. Leon H. Fradkin, a dentist who had migrated from Russia, and Elvira Kush, an activist who wrote and advocated for disarmament and women’s rights. He became enamored of the West during a road trip with his father when he was 14.

After graduating from Williams College he made his way westward, working for small newspapers in California in the early 1960s before being hired by The Los Angeles Times in 1964. He shared in a Pulitzer Prize the paper received in 1966 for its coverage of the Watts riots, and later covered the Vietnam War.

In 1970 he created an environmental beat at the paper. He left in 1975 — he said his editor had told him his articles were tilting toward environmentalism — and became an environmental policy expert in the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/us/philip-fradkin-writer-of-western-themes-dies-at-77.html