For me, the best and most interesting books include landscapes so real I feel as if I am in them as I read. John Barry’s description of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, the Mississippi River flood of 1927 currently being cited on the evening news as the River once more threatens lives and property, is gripping in its description of the Mississippi and the people involved in trying to control the river system. The 1927 flood killed more than 1000 people and left 900,000 homeless from Cairo, IL to New Orleans, and profoundly changed race relations, government and society especially in the Mississippi Valley region. This tale includes greed, ego, power politics, racial conflict, bureaucratic incompetence and the landscape of the Mississippi river valley. The history it relates affects control of the Mississippi even today.