Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams

Patrick McCully
Thursday, October 4, 2001

“A truly dazzling book” – Arundhati Roy

This ground-breaking book explains the history and politics of dam building worldwide and shows why large dams have become the most controversial of technologies. It describes the many technical, safety and economic problems which afflict the technology, the structure of the international dam–building industry, and the role played by international banks and aid agencies in promoting the technology in the South.

Silenced Rivers also tells the story of the rapid growth of the international anti–dam movement. It stresses how replacing large dams with less destructive alternatives will depend upon the opening up of the dam industry’s practices to public scrutiny.

Published by Zed Books (London), with International Rivers and The Ecologist, the book is available from Also available in Chinese as an unofficial translation by China Development Press: "大坝经济学" and in Spanish by Fundación Proteger.


Read sample chapters:

Dams: What they are and what they do
Rivers No More: The environmental effects of large dams

Dam statistics

Dam–Induced Seismicity

Getting Old: Dam Ageing and Decommissioning
Hydrology Data and Dams
Iron Dams and Corpses: Dam Safety
Sedimentation Problems with Dams
Static Dams, Changing Climate