blistermoth (blistermoth) wrote,

Oh mercy

I found out via Michael McGrorty of Library Dust that this year's book for the New Orleans "One Book, One New Orlenas" program was Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America.

I wish I was kidding.

Here's part of Library Journal's review of the book:

"In the spring of 1927, America witnessed perhaps its greatest natural disaster: a flood that profoundly changed race relations, government, and society in the Mississippi River valley region. Barry presents here a fascinating social history of the effects of the massive flood. More than 30 feet of water stood over land inhabited by nearly one million people. Almost 300,000 African Americans were forced to live in refugee camps for months. Many people, both black and white, left the land and never returned. Using an impressive array of primary and secondary sources, Barry clearly traces and analyzed how the changes produced by the flood in the lower South came into conflict and ultimately destroyed the old planter aristocracy, accelerated black migration to the North, and foreshadowed federal government intervention in the region's social and economic life during the New Deal."

McGrorty writes "The events of the past few days are a grim if effective rejoinder to those who suggest the public library has lost relevance in the modern age or gone out of touch with its patrons. Now, with the waters of the ocean and the Mississippi vying to complete the destruction of New Orleans, we turn again to the unlearned lesson of Barry's book, and also, when our grief will have passed, to the reestablishment of civil society in those places along the river and the ocean that have suffered such terrible losses. One of the elements of that restoration will be the rebuilding of libraries. When that work begins, let it be as a memorial to those who passed in those furious hours."

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