Before the Flood
Destruction, Community, and Survival in the Drowned Towns of the Quabbin
Elisabeth C. Rosenberg
In the tradition of Silent Spring, a modern parable of the American experience and our paradoxical relationship with the natural world.
Though it seems a part of the "natural" landscape of New England today, the Swift River Valley reservoir, dam, dike, and nature area was a triumph of civil engineering. It combined forward-looking environmental stewardship and social policy, yet the “little people”—and the four towns in which they lived—got lost along the way. Elisabeth Rosenberg has crafted Before the Flood to be both a modern and a universal story in a time when managed retreat will one day be a reality.
Meticulously researched, Before the Flood, is the first narrative book on the incredible history of the Swift River Valley and the origins Quabbin Reservoir. Rosenberg dive into the socioeconomic and psychological aspects of the Swift River Valley’s destruction in order to supply drinking water for the growing populations of Boston and wider Massachusetts.
It is as much a human story as the story of water and landscape, and Before the Flood movingly reveals both the stories and the science of the key players and the four flooded towns that were washed forever away.