Marilyn reviews RISING TIDE by John Barry, Simon & Schuster, 1997, 525 pages.  

This was an excellent read despite it is the accurate account of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. As we all are aware, the river can be quite powerful with its basin reaching into Canada and the Rocky Mountains. The river has been known to produce such floods that have destroyed the Mississippi Delta. Unfortunately, in 1927, this particular flood destroyed the livelihoods of millions of citizens in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.  

Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was appointed by President Calvin Coolidge to lead the relief efforts. Herbert Hoover set his relief headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. Households turned on their radios to hear Secretary Hoover’s assessment of the flood conditions and what relief efforts would be made. Hoover broadcasted from the Peabody Hotel. The flood did not begin to recede until June, 1927, and therefore, left much of the Delta a wasteland. 

In this historical account, author John Berry explored these ramifications of the Great Flood of 1927: 

  • destroyed the river’s delta levee system  
  • changed to the Delta landscape   
  • caused an increase in the Great Migration of Blacks   
  • aligned of Blacks from one political party to another 
  • influenced the election of a President. 

Even though he was hardly known prior to 1926, Herbert Hoover became a household name with his relief efforts. He became so well-known that he was eventually elected 31st President of the United States in 1929.