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An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.

Topics: Race Relations, Natural Disasters, American History, Informative, Politics, Government, Poignant, 1920s, Mississippi, American South, and New Orleans

Published: Simon & Schuster on Sep 17, 2007
ISBN: 9781416563327
List price: $14.99
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not just the story of a flood, but the story of the Percy family and the change of culturesread more
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story about the great Mississippi flood of 1927.read more
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I'm not from the US, and my US geography is pretty limited. So I didn't realise just how vast the Mississippi river was until I read this. And the size of the 1927 flood is just astounding - a gap between levees three miles across still wasn't enough to contain it.This book covers a lot of ground, some of which is only tangentially related to the flood. Most of it is interesting and valid, but some could have been cut out to make the book a bit crisper.I also now know what that Led Zeppelin song is about.read more
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not just the story of a flood, but the story of the Percy family and the change of cultures
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
story about the great Mississippi flood of 1927.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm not from the US, and my US geography is pretty limited. So I didn't realise just how vast the Mississippi river was until I read this. And the size of the 1927 flood is just astounding - a gap between levees three miles across still wasn't enough to contain it.This book covers a lot of ground, some of which is only tangentially related to the flood. Most of it is interesting and valid, but some could have been cut out to make the book a bit crisper.I also now know what that Led Zeppelin song is about.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
narrative of the 1927 Mississippi River Flood; interesting descriptions of conflict betw races and social classes of post-Reconstruction South; much detail on political maneuvers, old-boy network, less on engineering or environment
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After reading "The Great Influenza", I decide to buy other books by this acclaimed nonfiction author. I really enjoy Barry's wealth of background information and ability to see the big picture beyond the individual event. It was a spooky coincidence that I'd purchased "Rising Tide", because a couple months later Hurricane Katrina caused flooding through Lousiana and Mississippi. Like the hurricane of 2005, the Flood of 1927 was filled with scandal and cries of racism.
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In the aftermath of Katrina many people are looking for answers and Rising Tide may provide clues of where to look (power politics, forces of nature, and bad engineering for starters). But Rising Tide tells a fascinating story well-worth reading on its own merits. John Barry's story tells two different tales. One is the futile battle of man versus the mighty Mississippi River. The river is freakishly powerful, seemingly a living thing with an intent to go where it pleases. Great engineering feats were required even to attempt to cage the river, but at the same time there was great debate whether it was possible or advisable to do so. In the end, the river shows itself to be a virtually irresistible force of nature. The book raise real questions as to whether controlling the river is feasible today. The discussion of the civil engineering side of 'flood control' is quite interesting. The other side of the story is the human tale of the powerful against the common folks. Part of the telling focuses on Greenville, Mississippi in the heart of the Delta where patrician whites ultimately forsake any pretense of humanity toward the black majority as the levee is breached. In New Orleans, the city bosses plot to save the city at any cost - any cost to people living elsewhere that is. Herbert Hoover somehow rides his rather ineffective role in recovery into a trip to the White House. The flood also propelled Huey Long to the governorship of Louisiana (a subject the book unfortunately barely mentions). If you have an interest in race relations, disaster stories, power politics, the South, or civil engineering you will enjoy this book. A great read.
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