The Thousand Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937

By Whayne, Jeannie | The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview

The Thousand Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937


Whayne, Jeannie, The Arkansas Historical Quarterly


The Thousand Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937. By David Welky. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Pp. xiv, 355. Maps, illustrations, acknowledgments, notes, index. $27.50.)

David Welky's well-written and informative book provides the only comprehensive account of the most serious flood of the twentieth century, one that struck the Ohio and lower Mississippi River valleys with great ferocity in 1937. Published by the University of Chicago Press, which is issuing some of the best books in environmental history these days, The Thousand Year Flood may cause historians to rethink the primacy of the more famous 1927 flood in reshaping government policy toward natural disasters. In its early chapters, the book provides an in-depth analysis of nineteenth and early twentieth-century engineering perspectives on flood control and the role of the Army Corps of Engineers. A later chapter focuses, in part, on the emerging science of weather forecasting and how its limitations affected the disaster. One of the most fascinating aspects of this book, however, is Welky's careful elucidation of how Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal coped with the disaster. His book covers much of the same ground that Sarah T. Phillips traverses in This Nation, This Land: Conservation Policy, Rural America, and the New Deal (2007), but while Phillips provides a more general study of Roosevelt's larger perspective on conservation, Welky uses the flood of 1937 to shed light on policy-making during a specific and terrible national disaster and its long-term implications.

Welky's treatment of the nineteenth-century rivalry between the Army Corps of Engineers' Andrew Humphreys and Charles Ellet, Jr., then a civil engineer, is more comprehensive than John Barry's analysis in Rising Tide (1997), a book that covered the 1927 flood. Welky's account is also more engaging. While Barry fashioned his narrative with a broad brush, perhaps oversimplifying the contest between the two engineers, Welky does more than simply fill in some gaps. His narrative includes crucial biographical information about both men, information that is at once more illuminating and memorable. Both were deeply flawed and highly ambitious men-onthe- make who espoused very different perspectives on controlling the nation's rivers. Although not entirely sound, Ellet's mix of levees and reservoirs was the better approach, but his untimely death in 1862 leftthe field open to Humphreys. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Thousand Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.