Author presents ‘Tahoe Beneath the Surface’ |

Author presents ‘Tahoe Beneath the Surface’

TAHOE – Lake Tahoe transformed America. Not just once but many times over from the earliest Ice Age civilizations, to the mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe. It helped in the American conquest of California, the launch of the Republican Party, and the ignition of the western Indian wars. And along the way, Lake Tahoe even found the time to propel the ski industry, spark the sexual revolution, and win countless Academy Awards.

“Tahoe beneath the Surface” brings this hidden history of America’s largest alpine lake to life through the stories of its most celebrated residents and visitors during the last 10,000 years. It mixes local Washoe 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.

“Tahoe beneath the Surface” 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.

Despite the impact Lake Tahoe has had on America, environmental threats loom large. Tahoe Blue is a term that Lankford uses to encompass the whole range of life, beauty, and meaning the lake represents grows increasingly vulnerable. In “Tahoe beneath the Surface,” human history and natural history combine in a most engaging way, one that will both inform and inspire all who would keep Tahoe blue.

Author Scott Lankford will present a public lecture, 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, 291 Country Club Drive, Incline Village, Nev. Cost is $10 for the general public and no charge for students with valid student identification. Prior to the presentation UC Davis offers a no-host happy hour with wine, beer and food for attendees. On Tuesday, May 31, at the UC Davis Tahoe City Field Station (Historic Hatchery), Lankford will present a public lecture about John Steinbeck who worked at the Hatchery while writing his first book. For more information, visit

May 31, 2011: John Steinbeck at Tahoe: Hatching His First Novel, with Author Scott Lankford (to be held at Tahoe City Field Station)

June 1, 2011: Tahoe Beneath the Surface , with Author Scott Lankford

June 16, 2011: Science of Winemaking Lecture, with Winemaker Stephen Tebb, Robert Craig Winery

Aug. 13, 2011: Children’s Environmental Science Day

Visit for additional information.

Raised in Colorado, Scott Lankford got lost en route to Stanford University and spent much of the next 10 years as a maintenance man, musician, and mountaineering guide at Lake Tahoe. After joining the 1985 American Everest West Ridge Expedition, he completed a Ph.D. in modern thought and literature with a dissertation on John Muir. Currently a professor of English at Foothill College, in California’s Silicon Valley, he has previously served as Foothill’s Dean of Language Arts and was a former co-director of the Foothill College Cultural Diversity Center.

The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center presents monthly lectures on science topics and organizes various educational programs including the Youth Science Institute, Science Expo, and Children’s Environmental Science Day. The Tahoe Environmental Research Center is dedicated to research, education and public outreach on lakes and their surrounding watersheds and airsheds. Lake ecosystems include the physical, biogeochemical and human environments, and the interactions among them. The center is committed to providing objective scientific information for restoration and sustainable use of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

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