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Everything in Its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood Paperback – April 15, 1978


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Everything in Its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood + Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (Illinois)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 15, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671240676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671240677
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The Jet on June 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the summer of 1948, we lived in Lorado, West Virginia (Logan County). The Buffalo Creek ran behind `our' house, while a road and the tracks of the C&O Railroad ran just beyond our front yard. The photo on page 37 shows those tracks that we often walked from Lorado towards Man, WV. It could well be a picture of our former front yard.

I , of course, remember the news accounts of the 1972 disaster.

So, I have a personal outlook at this sociological follow-up of the lives wrecked when the earth dam and mine tailings gave way.

Kai Erickson has done a deeply moving and eloquent account of the ramifications of this recent tragedy.

I recommend it to all interested in mankind and the factors that fall upon our fellow travelers as we all 'work our way through life.'
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Park on April 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
This was an excellent book, well-written and informative. Using Buffalo Creek as the fulcrum, Erikson provides readers with a good introduction of communities and trauma. It is interesting to note the similarities and differences between the aftermaths of Sept 11 and Buffalo Creek. Erikson's book is a must read for social scientists and anyone interested in creative non-fiction writing.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nightmoon3@aol.com on April 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
Excellent descriptions of how survivors dealt with the total destruction of everything they had built and accomplished in their entire lives. All of this was taken from them by a "man made" damn and wall of water within minutes. Mr. Erikson did a wonderful job of relating to the people from the coal camps and realizing what their lives had been about......he truely shows the suffering involved in this disaster.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Country Girl on February 11, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a very intersting book for me. I was looking for information on this flood & I found the information plus more. I didn't really realize it was going to deal so much with "how the person works" in tragedies. I came to understand the Appalacian people as a unique group. I also understand how & why the flood started. But I also learned a lot about how people's "mind" deals with events such as this type of tragedy. And I also can understand how people in general, including myself, react to events in much smaller every-day problems. I can now understand many of my "reactions" & how they are normal & very unique to each individual. It helped me a lot Plus I learned a lot about the needless tragedy. It made me think a little. Good Read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael F. Kennedy on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was 12, growing up a couple of counties away, when the dam burst at Buffalo Creek in 1972. It was just the latest disaster in less than a decade to afflict what I thought was my cursed native state: The Silver Bridge collapse, the explosion at the Farmington No. 9 mine and the Marshall University plane crash.

This book is in three parts, the first describing the disaster, the second a historical overview of Appalachia in general and the Buffalo Creek area in particular. The third is on the effects on the survivors of the flood.

Though the Buffalo Creek flood happened more than 30 years ago, its lessons are as current as the destruction of New Orleans.

Kai Erickson writes quite well for a sociologist and the book only begins to drag a bit at the end, in the sociology part. Maybe it's just the (justifiable) litany of complaints from the survivors. If this account is any measure, the survivors of Hurricane Katrina will be suffering in psyche long after their material losses have been recouped.

Anyone with further interest in the Buffalo Creek flood ought to also read Gerald Stern's "The Buffalo Creek Disaster," written from the point of view of one of the lawyers who took part in the resulting litigation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book worm on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was written about two years after the collapse of a containment pond that changed the landscape for a small town in rural Appalachia by a sociologist whose main job was to collect testimony of eye witnesses and survivors of the flood that scraped the valley bare for use in a law suit made on behalf of the victims against the mining company whose job it was to maintain the containment pond.

the way it went about carefully reviewing the history of the area since settlement helped to understand the disaster in the context of the community, its cultural norms, its strengths and weaknesses.

The story is often one of people finding it difficult to pick up the pieces. So much of their social fabric had been picked up and washed away. One question left unanswered is what has happened in the intervening decades.

This man-made disaster has become a yardstick for comparison to judge other disasters.
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