For history buffs, this fascinating look at the Great Missippi Flood of 1927 uncovers not only the bad science that led to massive flooding after heavy rains, but the underlying social tensions of the time (racism, politics, high society, etc.) that contributed the severity of the disaster. It's incredible how little Americans know of the history of our country, but this book provides readable insight to the issues of the early 20th-century South. Always interesting, sometimes infuriating, this book will make a history buff out of just about anyone.
The premise of this book is to tell the story of the 1927 flood and some of the dramatic impacts it had on America. Sadly, the author casts his net so wide that the amount of information is overwhelming and players that could have had "bit" parts in this retelling are given more than their fair share. There is a lot of interesting detail and history here that most will have not heard before.
To a child of the Piney woods of Mississippi, whose parents were part of the high political times before living the Depression years, the Book was a wonderful history lesson. Remembering Grandfather's story of Bilbo's rise beating a drum of hate, was not so fun, yet, but the book also told the tale. Here lies also the recounting of many of the 'institutions' of the time, not the least of which was "We got the breast and the 'Help' got the back".
I married a lady whose parents game from Washington Co., and never left mentally, always speaking of the Percys, Paxtons, Winns, and many more. Their land unusable today without huge machines, yet it's still land alive with the smell of growing. Even in winter it lies ready to spring. To sit beside the great River at the boat ramp under the bridge to Arkansas and feel its power to move and change the world provides much meat to the Book's story of this wide, wet road through America.
Change scenes to New Orleans, long a hangout in my 60's raging. There is never a failure to get the taste of "society" so proud of itself. Galatoire's remains supreme. Listen to Randy Newman's "Louisiana" and "Kingfish" and realize that "Rising Tide" tells many great truths.
As I read along in May, 2011, the River was at historic flood stage, the raised and strengthened levees never having been tested since 1927. Friends in Greenville fretted and packed up many valuables. Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, and nearby the rise backed things up. The Water flowed through four open gates of the Morganza spillway into the Atchafalaya River basin, this another part of the Book's story.
Did I enjoy the book? Yes, I did.
Very interesting book. I read it several years ago but learned a lot from it. As I recall, it does not present a very favorable picture of the Corps of Engineers or the politicians involved in decision making before and during the flood. The Mississippi would not let men control it.
"Rising Tide" is about the lifestyle and political control of the Mississippi aristocrats who lived like royalty in the delta area of Mississippi. After the War to keep the blacks from moving north they found a way to keep blacks on the farm, the landowners particularly the Percy family invented sharecropping. This gave them a chance to make more money from farming and provided the landowners the labor the crops required. They needed blacks for labor and when the blacks finally started to move north they started importing Italians. The Italians didn't respond to the work conditions and the weather they found in the delta. The top soil in the US averaged about 6 inches, but in the soil in the delta it was 10 feet deep making it he richest soil in the world. The land owners didn't even have to use fertilizer for cotton and their cotton was highly resistant to the boil weevil. The beginning of the book starts out with a foundation for the cause of the flood, and the state, federal, and military politics involved. The reader will find out that the amount of rain that fell mainly on the plain was not the only factor which caused the great flood. Historians will be attracted to this book. I enjoyed it.
Trade sized paperback; Tends to focus on personalities more than events, it's hard to get the "flow" of the story (no pun intended), still, the author does a good job of making the book interesting.