Among the Waterfalls of the World
Rashleigh, Edward C. (author)
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Reviewed by Bryan Swan
Unfortunately because of the way we've constructed the Book Ratings system this book doesn't really get the credit it deserves. Among the Waterfalls of the World may have been the first major book on the topic of Waterfall to be published. Pressed in 1935 by Jarrolds of London, the book is a hard-cover, thick paged, incredibly detailed look at the major waterfalls of the world as they were known to exist in 1935. Author Sir Edward C. Rashleigh did a fantastic job at compiling the accounts of explorers in parts of the world that, then, were just being probed.
Now, to get it out of the way, this is not a guidebook. This is purely a historical documentation and inventorying of the major waterfalls of the world (much in the way this website is). The author devotes dozens of pages per chapter discussing the major cataracts, such as Niagara, Victoria, Iguaçu, Guaíra, Paulo Afonso, Augrabies and others. He also has included substantial accounts of many of the taller waterfalls know throughout the world at the time too. The book was authored just after Angel Falls was discovered, so it includes one of the first discussions of the lofty fall. It also includes information on several waterfalls which we have yet to be able to identify in parts of South America. What this illustrates is a perfect account and example of the history of exploration in the 19th and 20th centuries being largely forgotten in the modern age, which is very unfortunate.
One of the most admirable qualities of the author's work in this book is the detail with which he has discussed the five major waterfall described earlier. There are hand drawn maps of the river channels at Iguaçu, Paulo Afonso, Guaíra and Augrabies Falls that all illustrate just how complex of waterfalls they are - something that has yet to be done in modern texts. What is lacking is photographs. Being that the printing presses available in the 30s simply weren't capable of reproducing photographs, this is an excusable omission that our ratings don't reflect. There are a few photographs, but not many.
Unfortunately being that this book was produced over 80 years ago, it is quite hard to find. Every now and then a copy surfaces in the Amazon Marketplace, but you'll have to pay to get a copy. We've seen them going for as much as $200 (though I think I paid about $45 for mine). Waterfall enthusiasts should keep a watch for this one, its really worth getting as long as you're willing to drop the cash necessary.