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Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California have been compared to the great social portraits by Steinbeck, Didion, and Saroyan. His newest book, The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California, is being hailed by critics as one of the most important books ever written about the West. Mark is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, that is straining to keep up with California’s relentless growth. A heartfelt, beautifully written book, The Dreamt Land weaves reportage, history, and memoir to confront the “Golden State” myth in a riveting fashion. No other chronicler of the West has so deeply delved into the empires of agriculture that drink so much of the water.