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Paris under water : how the city of light survived the great flood of 1910
Jeffrey H. Jackson
Adult Nonfiction DC761 .J33 2010

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From Publishers' Weekly:

As the primary conduit for goods and people, the Seine helped turn Paris into a thriving commercial center. But the river also brought destruction and death through periodic winter flooding. Important efforts were made in the 19th century to regulate the river, but a key proposal to raise the level of the quay walls was botched. By the second week of 1910, water from rising rivers washed through and wreaked havoc on villages upriver from Paris. By January 22, Parisians were forced out of homes; the river and the warehouse district of Bercy was particularly devastated and with it the city's precious wine supply. Water from the Seine was carried by the Metro into other areas on the right bank, but Parisians rallied. They established wooden walkways while soldiers rescued people from the water and prevented looting without occupying the city. Enlivened by period photographs of a flooded Paris, this is a capable, well-researched history of a modern city's battle with nature, but Rhodes College history professor Jackson's attempts to make connections with recent events like Katrina or the suburban Paris riots are tepid. 17 b&w photos. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In an engrossing narrative, Jackson (history & environmental studies, Rhodes Coll., Memphis) presents the epic story of an obscure event in French history: the great flood of Paris about 100 years ago. Using archival sources and postcards from the time, Jackson describes the physical ravages of the Seine's raging waters, but, more important, he places the disaster within a political, cultural, and social context that both scholars and general readers will understand. A city that had for decades been riddled by political, social, and religious divisions was somehow able to pull together during and after the crisis to regroup and rebuild. Jackson's narrative is enriched by some final musings on contemporary problems affecting French society, as he uses the experience of the flood to ponder ways in which urban residents might reconnect to one another. VERDICT Jackson's efforts to view the flood multidimensionally, writing in a fashion that will especially interest those who remember the personal and political impact of Hurricane Katrina, recommend his book for specialists as well as readers of popular history. [Sarah Smith's The Knowledge of Water, although the central part of a fictional trilogy, stands alone as a novel that takes place in Paris during the flood.-Ed.]-Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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