Zellmer co-authors book about Mississippi River tragedies

Zellmer co-authors book about Mississippi River tragedies

Sandra Zellmer
Courtesy photo
Sandra Zellmer

Sandra Zellmer is co-author of "Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster," a new book that uses a series of stories to show that it is misleading to call floods and other environmental catastrophes "natural." The book was published by New York University Press.

Zellmer, a professor of law, and co-author Christine Klein, strive to uncover the larger story of how the law reflects and even amplifies ambivalent attitudes toward nature — simultaneously revering wild rivers and places for what they are, while working feverishly to change them into something else.

In this book, the authors conclude that, although the acknowledgement of human responsibility for unnatural disasters can lead to blame, guilt, and liability, it can also prod individuals to confront the consequences of society's actions, hopefully leading to a liberating sense of possibility and to the knowledge necessary to avoid future disasters.