Tahoe’s far-reaching impact assessed in new book

By June 7, 2011

Author Scott Lankford will present his new book, “Tahoe Beneath the Surface,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in downtown Davis.

Lake Tahoe transformed America, not just once but many times over — from the earliest Ice Age civilizations to the mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe, Lankford says. Along the way, Lake Tahoe found the time to invent the ski industry, spark the sexual revolution and win countless Academy Awards.

“Tahoe beneath the Surface” brings this hidden history of America’s largest mountain lake to life through the stories of its most celebrated residents and visitors over the past 10,000 years. It mixes local Washoe Indian legends with tales of murderous Mafia dons, and Rat Pack tunes with Steinbeck novels.

It establishes Tahoe as one of America’s literary hot spots by tracing the steps of more than a dozen authors, including Bertrand Russell, Maxine Hong Kingston and Michael Ondaatje.

The book also reveals how the lake transformed the lives of conservationists like John Muir, humorists like Mark Twain and Hollywood icons like Frank Sinatra. It even touches upon some of the darker aspects of American history, including anti-Chinese racism and the Kennedy assassination.

Enterprise staff

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