|About the Book|
This books pays tribute and tells the fascinating story of the forgotten flood of 1913. It was the largest flood the US had, covering large swathes of the Midwest. I had not heard of this natural disaster and wanted to learn more about it. The authors well researched tale focuses on the human accounts of heroism, greed, racism and more. A large number of personal stories are included, so many that it is somewhat difficult to keep track of the players. This flood occurred at a time without the forecasting weather sensibilities of today. Large numbers of people were caught off guard, many ignoring the few warnings given. This flood followed tornado activity and was a perfect storm of a disaster. Flood insurance was unheard of and the thousands who lost everything had no compensation for their losses. Experiences covered the spectrum of heroes who braved difficulties to search and rescue others in small boats on fast moving currents, neighbors helping others, particularly the head of the National Cash Register company (NCR), who turned his business into a shelter for hundreds, the scam artists preying up on victims (including a few police officers) who charged some for boat rides and fake doctors charging for treatment. Whole families were lost and bad judgment of not respecting the powers of Mother Nature took its toll. The stories were riveting. A major change in public policy took effect after this disaster, whereas before little thought was given to flood control and planning, this calamity brought about many positive changes that benefit us today. While the book starts out a bit slow, once it gets going, it is hard to put down. A wonderful book of a little known event that changed many lives and public policy. It was also fun to learn what future celebrities were included, and how some lessons werent learned (Hurricane Katrinas dismal response) Highly recommend this book. This would be a great biopic for the History Channel, Discovery and the Smithsonial Channel.