From Noah's Biblical deluge to the China floods of 1931 that killed more than 3 million people; and from the broken levees in New Orleans to submerged streets and homes all over Britain, floods have always been an unwelcome companion of humanity. They have many causes: rain, melting ice, storms, tsunamis and the failures of dams and dikes. They have been used as deliberate acts of war causing thousands of casualties and have often been seen as punishments visited by vengeful gods. Flooding kills more people than any other type of natural disaster. This cultural and natural history of floods tells of the deadliest floods the world has seen, while also exploring the role of the deluge in religion, mythology, literature and art. flood describes how aspects of floods - the power of nature, human drama, altered landscapes - have fascinated artists, novelists and film-makers. It examines the ancient, catastrophic deluge that appears in many religions and cultures, and considers how the flood has become a key icon in world literatures and a favourite component of disaster movies. John Withington also relates how some of the most ambitious structures ever built by humans have been designed to protect us against these merciless encroaching waters, and discusses the increasing danger floods pose in a future beset by the effects of climate change. Filled with illustrations, flood offers a fascinating overview of our relationship with one of humanity's oldest and deadliest foes.
Country of Publication:
01 February 2014
Foreword 1 Myth 2 Reality 3 Description: Floods in Literature 4 Depiction: Floods in Art and Films 5 Defence 6 Defeat? Postscript Notable Floods References Select Bibliography Associations and Websites Photo Ac
John Withington is an award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist based in London. He is one of Britain's leading disaster historians and the author of books such as A Disastrous History of the World (2008), London's Disasters (2010) and Britain's 20 Worst Military Disasters (2011).
Reviews for Flood: Nature and Culture
By incorporating both the fear and the fascination of floods, Withington presents a three-dimensional introduction. . . . The off-hand, easy prose could be what keeps the book refreshing rather than depressive. . . . Will be enjoyed by students of natural resource and general readers alike. Recommended. --Choice As Withington demonstrates, floods have always been with us: they killed more than 3 million in China in 1931. If inundation has been feared since the time of Noah, it is scarcely going to be reduced by the greenhouse effect or building on flood plains. --Independent Disaster historian John Withington's new book Flood: Nature and Culture reveals that dozens of religions in different parts of the world have their own tales of apocalyptic deluges--perhaps a reflection of the fact that floods are the natural disaster most commonly suffered by humanity. --Yareah Magazine In his attractively illustrated book, Withington deals with an enormous subject at a brisk pace. He has a knack of picking out precise examples and saying just enough about them . . . what distinguishes Flood is its scope and its readiness to move on from nature and science to human concerns and the different ways they have been expressed in culture. --Eastern Daily Press