Rising Tide

Rising Tide

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

Book - 1997
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Baker & Taylor
Provides an account of one of the greatest national disasters the United States has ever experienced and its consequences

& Taylor

An account of the 1927 Mississippi River flood explores one of the greatest national disasters the United States has ever experienced and its consequences in a comprehensive volume that clearly shows how the flood changed the course of history. 60,000 first printing. Tour.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, [1997]
Copyright Date: ©1997
ISBN: 9780684810461
Branch Call Number: 977.032 Ba 1997
Characteristics: 524 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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May 20, 2016

John Barry is one of my favorite writers of popular history and "Rising Tide" is one of his best. His books usually center on specific episodes or events, but he goes into considerable detail about the cultural, social, political and intellectual milieus in which they occurred. In the case of the 1927 Mississippi River flood, Barry goes into detail about the 19th century conflict over how to manage the river between the Army Corps of Engineers and the self-taught St. Louis based engineer, James Eads. The author argues that the Corps won that fight, but that the later flood confirmed Eads' position. Barry also discusses how the political and social climate in New Orleans led to the sacrifice of some down stream communities in an effort to minimize damage to parts of the city. And in yet another facet of the episode, he asserts that the horrendously discriminatory management of the federal disaster relief effort of the Coolidge administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, began the alienation of African Americans from the Republican party and that accelerated in the following decade as the Franklin Roosevelt administration reached out to that community, mainly through his wife Eleanor. It's well over a decade since I read "Rising Tide," but it is still vivid in my memory. I recommend with equal enthusiasm Barry's "The Great Influenza," about the 1918 flu epidemic.


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