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The Flood Year 1927A Cultural History$
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Susan Scott Parrish

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168838

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168838.001.0001

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Modern Overflow

Modern Overflow

(p.20) One Modern Overflow
The Flood Year 1927

Susan Scott Parrish

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 exposed the chronic and longstanding social and economic precariousness of the Delta. The flood made visible the combination of history and natural history that had produced it. Economic and social commentator Stuart Chase was a northerner who looked critically at the flood as a sign of systemic trouble. In the book Rich Land, Poor Land (1936), he contemplated not only the 1927 flood but also the still unfolding Dust Bowl, averring that his was a time of environmental “boomerangs.” Chase perceived the river not as a willful agent but rather one neutral part of various natural and humanly altered cycles, systems, and histories. Thus, to understand 1927 in the Delta, we have to understand that industrial “gallop” which occurred throughout the Mississippi watershed after the Civil War.

Keywords:   Great Mississippi Flood, river flood, Mississippi Delta, Stuart Chase, Mississippi watershed

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