This week we're celebrating the on-sale of The Titled World in paperback. This historical novel, originally published in hardcover in October of 2013, is set along the banks of Mississippi River during the great flood of 1927, a flood so large that it destroyed a million homes and submerged an area the size of New England. The population most affected by the disaster were poor sharecroppers which is probably part of the reason the story never captured the national imagination as it otherwise may have. Because of that, we'd like to acknowledge the event that inspired this gritty page-turner with a few facts from the authors' research:
- Following several months of unusually heavy rain during late 1926 and early 1927, the Mississippi River flooded. It was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States and one of our country’s greatest natural disasters.
- When the levees burst outside Greenville, MS, a wall of water 100 feet high burst through the crevasse at twice the volume of Niagara Falls.
- Even as the flood began to recede, 1.5 million acres were under water. The river was 70 miles wide. The water remained in some places for six months.
- 246 people in seven states were reported killed, though many believe the real number is much higher.
- Because of this flood we now have FEMA. There was no official national response to natural disasters prior; it was up to state senators to request help, and sometimes they didn’t wish to ask to avoid appearing weak.
- The Great Migration of African Americans to the North was accelerated. The flood took with it an entire crop cycle and layers and layers of rich topsoil. Tenant farmers couldn’t afford to pay back their loans, and many fled North, particularly to Chicago.
A tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and unexpected love, the paperback edition of The Tilted World by Tom Franklin, bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and award-winning poet, Beth Ann Fennelly is available now wherever books are sold.