A Corps Chief Looks at Rising Tide

by E. R. Heiberg, III, P.E., (M.ASCE), Pres.; Heiburg Associates, Inc., Mason Neck, VA; formerly, Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1984 to 1988,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 2, Pg. 54-56

Document Type: Feature article


A former head of the U.S. Army corps of Engineers reviews a book about the Great Flood of 1927. The book, entitled, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America, by John Barry, covers the politics, the engineering issues and the aftermath of this great flood. He outlines the social and legislative changes that arose from the flood. Heiberg discusses the change in public policy and action in disaster relief since that flood. At the time, President Calvin Coolidge refused to travel to see the great devastation, believing that such disasters were not the province of the federal government. That attitude is greatly changes. A levees only policy by the Corps of Engineers is also discussed, and Heiberg describes the changes in that policy since the Great Flood. In recalling the history of that former policy, he covers the views of engineers James Eads, A.A. Humphreys, and Charles Ellet, and thinks the author of the book, Barry, rightly pins the blame on the Corps of Engineers. A dissenting view on that issue is also offered.

Subject Headings: Floods | United States Army Corps of Engineers | Federal government | Tides | Social factors | Public policy | Political factors

Services: Buy this book/Buy this article


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