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The Thousand-Year Flood

Matt Ball on January 4, 2016 - in Corporate, Planning, Stormwater

The water just kept rising and rising. Seventy-nine years ago one of America’s great natural disasters began with the inexorable rise of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Over the course of a month, four states were inundated, more than a million people lost their homes, and almost four hundred died.

The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937 by David Welky is the first comprehensive account. Welky first shows how politicians and planners repeatedly ignored the dangers and then tells the gripping story of the river’s rise: residents fled to refugee camps and higher ground, towns imposed martial law, prisoners rioted, Red Cross nurses endured terrifying conditions, and FDR dispatched thousands of relief workers.

A striking narrative of danger and adventure—and the mix of heroism and generosity, greed and pettiness that always accompany disaster—The Thousand-Year Flood breathes new life into a fascinating yet little-remembered American story.

Get the e-book edition of The Thousand-Year Flood free in January from The University of Chicago Press.

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