Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City

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9780873515009: Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City
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On April 19, 1997, in one of the most dramatic floods in U.S. history, more than 50,000 people abandoned their homes and businesses in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A nation watched as the heart of downtown, engulfed by a river, burst into flames above the water line. Like Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, Red River Rising is a compelling true-life narrative about the confluence of natural forces and human error that shaped one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history.

Ashley Shelby tells the dramatic stories of the flood: the suspenseful, blizzard-filled spring; the difficulties scientists had in predicting the river's crest; the struggles of people who fought the rising waters and of those who marshalled the city's forces. Despite technological advances in meteorology, despite the brute force of hundreds of earth movers, despite the utter determination of thousands who built and walked the levees, the river won.

This book is a gripping story of the terrific cost of natural disasters and a fascinating portrait of how ordinary people rose to an extraordinary challenge. It is also a clear-eyed examination of the disastrous aftermath: the second-guessing and blame directed at the National Weather Service, at city and federal officials, and at the people of Grand Forks themselves as they struggled to rebuild. With empathy and penetrating intelligence, Shelby uncovers the conflicts, conspiracy theories, and recrimination that tore at the community after the waters fell. Through the powerful stories of memorable individuals Red River Rising gives us new perspective on disaster and community.

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About the Author:

Ashley Shelby is the author of Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City, which was praised by Salon, the Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Library Journal, and other media outlets. Her original reporting on the Exxon Valdez litigation has been published in The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, and alternet, has been republished in news outlets around the globe, and has been anthologized in the I Hate Corporate America Reader (Thunder's Mouth Press/Da Capo, 2004). Her journalism, essays, op/eds, and fiction have been widely published and anthologized. 

Shelby, who was awarded the William Faulkner Short Fiction Award in 2002 and the 2009 Third Coast Fiction Prize (selected by Stuart Dybek), received an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. She has also been an Artist Fellow at Blacklock Nature Sanctuary and received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant for her writing. She has received a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation for her novel-in-progress, and is currently a juror for the Foundation.

From Publishers Weekly:

Journalist Shelby applies the familiar trope of public catastrophe as historical watershed to her study of the record-breaking 1997 flood in Grand Forks, North Dakota, that forced the evacuation of 50,000 residents and touched off devastating fires after the Red River overtopped its dikes. The event, she contends, bifurcated the town’s sense of time into "before the flood" and "after the flood," a division she honors in the book. The first part is a lucid, sometimes gripping account of the gathering disaster, explaining the freak weather patterns that precipitated the inundation, the difficulties the National Weather Service had in predicting the unprecedented scale of the flood, and the desperate efforts of engineers to hold back the water. The second part is a thorough micro-history of the aftermath, detailing battles between flood victims and city officials over relief funds and the effects of a new dike system that expunged entire neighborhoods from the flood plain. Here Shelby gets mired in city politics-as-usual. She devotes much space to displaced residents’ griping over the buyout offers they received from the city, and to a redevelopment bid for an Amazon.com warehouse that had little to do with the flood. Straining for pathos and meaning, she styles Grand Forks’ last seven years as a single, apocalyptic "Joycean day" of "flood angst." That goes a bit far, but still, this is a well-researched portrait of a city coping with a crisis. Photos.
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Book Description Minnesota Historical Society Press,U.S., United States, 2004. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On April 19, 1997, in one of the most dramatic floods in U.S. history, more than 50,000 people abandoned their homes and businesses in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A nation watched as the heart of downtown, engulfed by a river, burst into flames above the water line. Like Sebastian Junger s The Perfect Storm, Red River Rising is a compelling true-life narrative about the confluence of natural forces and human error that shaped one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history. Ashley Shelby tells the dramatic stories of the flood: the suspenseful, blizzard-filled spring; the difficulties scientists had in predicting the river s crest; the struggles of people who fought the rising waters and of those who marshalled the city s forces. Despite technological advances in meteorology, despite the brute force of hundreds of earth movers, despite the utter determination of thousands who built and walked the levees, the river won. This book is a gripping story of the terrific cost of natural disasters and a fascinating portrait of how ordinary people rose to an extraordinary challenge. It is also a clear-eyed examination of the disastrous aftermath: the second-guessing and blame directed at the National Weather Service, at city and federal officials, and at the people of Grand Forks themselves as the city struggled to rebuild. With empathy and penetrating intelligence, Shelby uncovers the conflicts, conspiracy theories, and recriminations that tore at the community after the waters fell. Through the powerful stories of memorable individuals Red River Rising gives us a new perspective on disaster and community. Seller Inventory # AAC9780873515009

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Book Description Minnesota Historical Society Press,U.S., United States, 2004. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On April 19, 1997, in one of the most dramatic floods in U.S. history, more than 50,000 people abandoned their homes and businesses in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A nation watched as the heart of downtown, engulfed by a river, burst into flames above the water line. Like Sebastian Junger s The Perfect Storm, Red River Rising is a compelling true-life narrative about the confluence of natural forces and human error that shaped one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history. Ashley Shelby tells the dramatic stories of the flood: the suspenseful, blizzard-filled spring; the difficulties scientists had in predicting the river s crest; the struggles of people who fought the rising waters and of those who marshalled the city s forces. Despite technological advances in meteorology, despite the brute force of hundreds of earth movers, despite the utter determination of thousands who built and walked the levees, the river won. This book is a gripping story of the terrific cost of natural disasters and a fascinating portrait of how ordinary people rose to an extraordinary challenge. It is also a clear-eyed examination of the disastrous aftermath: the second-guessing and blame directed at the National Weather Service, at city and federal officials, and at the people of Grand Forks themselves as the city struggled to rebuild. With empathy and penetrating intelligence, Shelby uncovers the conflicts, conspiracy theories, and recriminations that tore at the community after the waters fell. Through the powerful stories of memorable individuals Red River Rising gives us a new perspective on disaster and community. Seller Inventory # AAC9780873515009

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Book Description Borealis Books. Hardcover. Condition: New. 265 pages. On April 19, 1997, in one of the most dramatic floods in U. S. history, more than 50, 000 people abandoned their homes and businesses in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A nation watched as the heart of downtown, engulfed by a river, burst into flames above the water line. Like Sebastian Jungers The Perfect Storm, Red River Rising is a compelling true-life narrative about the confluence of natural forces and human error that shaped one of the greatest natural disasters in U. S. history. Ashley Shelby tells the dramatic stories of the flood: the suspenseful, blizzard-filled spring; the difficulties scientists had in predicting the rivers crest; the struggles of people who fought the rising waters and of those who marshalled the citys forces. Despite technological advances in meteorology, despite the brute force of hundreds of earth movers, despite the utter determination of thousands who built and walked the levees, the river won. This book is a gripping story of the terrific cost of natural disasters and a fascinating portrait of how ordinary people rose to an extraordinary challenge. It is also a clear-eyed examination of the disastrous aftermath: the second-guessing and blame directed at the National Weather Service, at city and federal officials, and at the people of Grand Forks themselves as the city struggled to rebuild. With empathy and penetrating intelligence, Shelby uncovers the conflicts, conspiracy theories, and recriminations that tore at the community after the waters fell. Through the powerful stories of memorable individuals Red River Rising gives us a new perspective on disaster and community. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Seller Inventory # 9780873515009

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