Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rising Tide - John M Barry

subtitle: The great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America

I picked this up at Goodwill browsing the books on half-off day.  It's a winner!  The older I get the more I enjoy history.  I get a perspective on topics I had no knowledge of in my youth and I can tie together facts and experiences to richly enhance my reading.

This book, as the subtitle indicates, is the story of a flood and its legacy.  Just prior to the depression of the 1930's the Mississippi River inundated 28,400 square miles from Ohio to Louisiana.  That is about the size of the entire state of South Carolina.  500,000 people were displaced and the damages ran to about one-third of the total U.S. federal budget at the time.

The book weaves facts about the movers and shakers in each state affected by the flood, particularly Mississippi and Louisiana and details the politics that lead to the first major federal government control of a national disaster.  Another story is told of the race relations of the time.  And yet another story is told of the fading of southern traditions and the rise to power of men like Herbert Hoover, Huey Long and the bankers of the South.

The author has become an adviser to the rebuilding of Louisiana and the gulf after Katrina.  He has also written about the influenza epidemic in 1918, a book I plan to seek out.

If you enjoy history, you'll enjoy reading this story.

Published: 1997  Read:  February 2013   Genre: History

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