Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910

From Eileen Effrat
author: Jackson, Jeffrey H.
Paris Under Water:  How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910
On the 100th anniversary of the catastrophic flood that put much of Paris
under  water in January 1910, historian Jeffrey Jackson vividly describes
the flooding within the political, cultural, and social context of the
time.  Although the Seine’s water level normally rose during the winter
months,  19th century technology had done much to protect the city against serious flooding. This was not to be the case in 1910.  The Seine rose 20 feet above normal—the highest level in 250 years. As water began seeping into basements, sewers, and underground channels, the Paris metro lines came to a halt as power plants filled with water and short circuited.  Lights went out across the city. City workers dumped tons of refuse into the fast flowing Seine, as garbage processing plants were knocked out of service.  Surprisingly, disease remained at bay.  Using entries from diaries, letters written by eye witnesses, and newspaper articles, the author presents the human side of a disaster that captured world-wide media coverage.

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