Over 1,700 people died, making it the worst marine disaster in U.S. history. This book looks at the disaster through the eyes of the victims themselves.
Author: Gene Salecker
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
At two o’clock in the morning on 27 April 1865, seven miles north of Memphis on the Mississippi, the sidewheel steamboat Sultana’s boilers suddenly exploded. Legally registered to carry 376 people, the boat was packed with 2,100 recently released Union prisoners-of-war. Over 1,700 people died, making it the worst marine disaster in U.S. history. This book looks at the disaster through the eyes of the victims themselves. It offers a concise, minute-by-minute account on the cause of the explosion and its effect on different parts of the boat. To focus on the personal stories of the victims, both civilian and soldier, Gene Eric Salecker patiently collected material from hundreds of letters, period newspaper stories, and other sources. Readers are first introduced to victims while they are languishing in Confederate prisons and follow their release to an exchange camp outside of Vicksburg to their eventual crowding onto the Sultana. His knowledgeable narrative is interwoven with individual reminiscences, including those of the heroic rescuers. He offers unprecedented details about the captain’s handling of the steamboat and corrects some long-held myths about the placement of the soldiers on the Sultana and newspaper coverage of the disaster. A large portion of the book covers rescue attempts, both successful and failed, and the aftermath of the disaster as it affected those involved. With its emphasis on the human-interest aspect of the Sultana, this book brings to the literature a critical point of view and much new research.
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 ...
Author: Christine A. Klein
Publisher: NYU Press
Read a free excerpt here! American 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. Mississippi River Tragedies 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.
There was relatively little federal government involvement to begin with, compared with contemporary disaster relief, ... 13 Lohof, “Herbert Hoover, Spokesman of Humane Efficiency: The Mississippi Flood of 1927,” American Quarterly 22 ...
Author: Patrick S. Roberts
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Disasters and the American State offers a thesis about the trajectory of federal government involvement in preparing for disaster shaped by contingent events. Politicians and bureaucrats claim credit for the government's successes in preparing for and responding to disaster, and they are also blamed for failures outside of government's control. New interventions have created precedents and established organizations and administrative cultures that accumulated over time and produced a general trend in which citizens, politicians and bureaucrats expect the government to provide more security from more kinds of disasters. The trend reached its peak when the Federal Emergency Management Agency adopted the idea of preparing for 'all hazards' as its mantra. Despite the rhetoric, however, the federal government's increasingly bold claims and heightened public expectations are disproportionate to the ability of the federal government to prevent or reduce the damage caused by disaster.
This book presents the fullest account yet written of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Author: James Patterson Smith
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
This book presents the fullest account yet written of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Rooted in a wealth of oral histories, it tells the dramatic but underreported story of a people who confronted the unprecedented devastation of sixty five thousand homes when the eye wall and powerful northeast quadrant of the hurricane swept a record thirty-foot storm surge across a seventy-five-mile stretch of unprotected Mississippi towns and cities. James Patterson Smith takes us through life and death accounts of storm day, August 29, 2005, and the precarious days of food and water shortages that followed. Along the way the narrative treats us to inspiring episodes of neighborly compassion and creative responses to the greatest natural disaster in American history. The heroes of this saga are the local people and local officials. In often moving accounts, the book addresses the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s long struggle to remove a record-setting volume of debris and get on with the rebuilding of homes, schools, jobs, and public infrastructure. Along the way readers are offered insights into the politics of recovery funding and the bureaucratic bungling and hubris that afflicted the storm response and complicated and delayed the work of recovery. Still, there are ample accounts of things done well, and a moving chapter gives us a feel for the psychological, spiritual, and material impact of the eight hundred thousand people from across the nation who gave of themselves as volunteers in the Mississippi recovery effort.
Drawing on ethnographic, media, and historic document research and analysis, Jennifer Trivedi explores the pre-disaster cultural, historical, social, political, and economic distinctions that shaped the recovery ofBiloxi and Biloxians.
Author: Jennifer Trivedi
Publisher: Lexington Books
Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the American Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. Biloxi, Mississippi, a small town on the coast, was one of the towns devastated directly by the storm. Drawing on ethnographic, media, and historic document research and analysis, Jennifer Trivedi explores the pre-disaster cultural, historical, social, political, and economic distinctions that shaped the recovery ofBiloxi and Biloxians. Trivedi examines how networks of people, groups, and institutions worked to prepare for and recover from the hurricane, reinforcing the distinctions that existed before the storm.
This authoritative work contains abundant photographs and illustrations, as well as the most complete list of the ship's passengers available.
Author: Jerry O. Potter
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company
Lee Surrenders! "President Murdered!" "Booth Killed!" screamed the headlines of American newspapers in April 1865, leaving little room for mention of a maritime disaster that to this day is America's worst. On April 27, 1865, the Sultana, a 260-foot, wooden-hulled steamboat-smaller than the Titanic but carrying more passengers-exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee. More than 1,800 men, mostly Union soldiers on their way home from Confederate prison camps, died. On board were over 2,400 passengers-six times the ship's legal capacity. Although jubilant about the war's end, most of the men were weakened by malnutrition and disease from their imprisonment at Andersonville and Cahaba. Hundreds who were not killed in the explosion drowned in the cold, swift waters of the muddy river. Because of the timing of the sinking, coverage of the Sultana's demise was scant, and the tragedy has passed almost unnoticed in the pages of American history. In this highly documented book, author Jerry Potter focuses on how greed, indifference, gross stupidity, and criminal misconduct reaching as far as the White House led to the overloading of the Sultana at Vicksburg. Such irresponsible conduct characterized the actions of President Lincoln, an entire chain of army command, and several profit-hungry civilians. This authoritative work contains abundant photographs and illustrations, as well as the most complete list of the ship's passengers available.
The only book of its kind, Warneka's emotionally honest, moving account lets you experience what it's like to be on the front lines of a national emergency!
Author: Timothy H. Warneka
Publisher: Asogomi Pub International
Could you head off alone to help with one of the biggest disasters in the U.S. history? That's exactly what first-time volunteer Tim Warneka did! Working with a national disaster relief organization, Warneka was assigned to the coastline of Southern Mississippi--right where Katrina came ashore. The only book of its kind, Warneka's emotionally honest, moving account lets you experience what it's like to be on the front lines of a national emergency!
Then he tells the gripping story of the river's inexorable rise: residents fled to refugee camps and higher ground, towns imposed martial law, prisoners rioted, Red Cross nurses endured terrifying conditions, and FDR dispatched thousands of ...
Author: David Welky
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
In the early days of 1937, the Ohio River, swollen by heavy winter rains, began rising. And rising. And rising. By the time the waters crested, the Ohio and Mississippi had climbed to record heights. Nearly four hundred people had died, while a million more had run from their homes. The deluge caused more than half a billion dollars of damage at a time when the Great Depression still battered the nation. Timed to coincide with the flood's seventy-fifth anniversary, The Thousand-Year Flood is the first comprehensive history of one of the most destructive disasters in American history. David Welky first shows how decades of settlement put Ohio valley farms and towns at risk and how politicians and planners repeatedly ignored the dangers. Then he tells the gripping story of the river's inexorable rise: residents fled to refugee camps and higher ground, towns imposed martial law, prisoners rioted, Red Cross nurses endured terrifying conditions, and FDR dispatched thousands of relief workers. In a landscape fraught with dangers—from unmoored gas tanks that became floating bombs to powerful currents of filthy floodwaters that swept away whole towns—people hastily raised sandbag barricades, piled into overloaded rowboats, and marveled at water that stretched as far as the eye could see. In the flood's aftermath, Welky explains, New Deal reformers, utopian dreamers, and hard-pressed locals restructured not only the flood-stricken valleys, but also the nation's relationship with its waterways, changes that continue to affect life along the rivers to this day. A striking narrative of danger and adventure—and the mix of heroism and generosity, greed and pettiness that always accompany disaster—The Thousand-Year Flood breathes new life into a fascinating yet little-remembered American story.