by Michael P, May 25, 2005 12:38 PM
"An account of the Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America. When the river flooded, it was possible to travel in a boat, east to west in the South, two hundred miles. The book is an account of how engineers had tried to control the Mississippi for the preceding hundred years and the conflicting theories about how to do that, the attempts and relative success prior to 1927, and how those attempts failed ultimately in '27. The subsequent flooding produced the worst national disaster in American history, resulting in an unknown number of deaths, assumed to be in the thousands. Barry explains how it affected the economic, social, and political environment of the Deep South, predominantly the Delta area. The novelist Walker Percy's family was a dominant force in the Delta at the time, and that's another storyline here — how that powerful family dealt with the flood and the rising power of the Ku Klux Klan. So the book, by talking about the flood, also deals with the politics of the region, immigration, race, its impact on the cotton industry, and ultimately how it made Herbert Hoover President and Huey Long Governor of Louisiana."