Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster

MISSISSIPPI RIVER TRAGEDIES                       KLEIN & ZELLMER
Posted:  April 24, 2015

Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural DisasterAmerican engineers have done astounding things to bend the Mississippi River to their will: forcing one of its tributaries to flow uphill, transforming over a thousand miles of roiling currents into a placid staircase of water, and wresting the lower half of the river apart from its floodplain. American law has aided and abetted these feats. But despite our best efforts, so-called “natural disasters” continue to strike the Mississippi basin, as raging floodwaters decimate waterfront communities and abandoned towns literally crumble into the Gulf of Mexico. In some places, only the tombstones remain, leaning at odd angles as the underlying soil erodes away. A Century of Unnatural Disaster reveals that it is seductively deceptive—but horribly misleading—to call such catastrophes “natural.”  Authors Christine A. Klein and Sandra B. Zellmer present a sympathetic account of the human dreams, pride, and foibles that got us to this point, weaving together engaging historical narratives and accessible law stories drawn from actual courtroom dramas. The authors deftly uncover the larger story of how the law reflects and even amplifies our ambivalent attitude toward nature—simultaneously revering wild rivers and places for what they are, while working feverishly to change them into something else. Despite their sobering revelations, the authors’ final message is one of hope. Although the acknowledgement of human responsibility for unnatural disasters can lead to blame, guilt, and liability, it can also prod us to confront the consequences of our actions, leading to a liberating sense of possibility and to the knowledge necessary to avoid future disasters.  Christine A. Klein is the Chesterfield Smith Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is co-author of Natural Resources Law: A Place-Based Book of Problems and Cases (Aspen Publishers). Sandra B. Zellmer holds the Robert B. Daugherty Chair at the University of Nebraska College of Law and is co-author of Natural Resources Law (West). 

HUBBY'S REVIEW:
This book was full of information but done in a way that makes the reading enjoyable. The flood plans for the Mississippi River and the river itself has changed over the years some good some not so good. The author goes into detail with how floods from storms has changed the path but also man has put his hand on it as well. Also goes into the many dams that have been built in Minnesota, which has something to do with the flow, along with hurricanes and other storms. The author also discusses the legal side of loss of property when a flood happens, risk and prevention, compensating for rebuild or loss, and insurance. This does not just include New Orleans but many along the Mississippi. A through look at the river and the good and bad that goes in living so close to it. A good book. Much more information than I am giving you. I got this book from net galley. I give this 4 stars.

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