The most recommended books about floods

Who picked these books? Meet our 20 experts.

20 authors created a book list connected to floods, and here are their favorite flood books.
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What type of flood book?


The Johnstown Flood

By David McCullough,

Book cover of The Johnstown Flood

Jordan Baker

From the list on that will hook you on history.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a bit of a history nerd. Memories of my childhood are sprinkled with reminders of this passion. Whether it was holding in my excitement to be on the way to fourth-grade social studies so my classmates wouldn’t think I was weird or watching a Nat Geo documentary about the archeology of Stonehenge while I healed up from wisdom teeth surgery, history has always been an escape and fascination for me. This passion led to me obtaining a BA, then an MA in History, and starting my own history blog.

Jordan's book list on that will hook you on history

Why did Jordan love this book?

I’ve always loved writing and learning about history. And no one exemplifies the marriage of these preoccupations better than McCullough. With his first book, he didn’t set out to do groundbreaking research - he just wanted to tell a great story. 

In The Johnstown Flood, McCullough does just that.

The book tells the story of one this once flourishing town that was destroyed when a nearby dam gave way, and a deluge swept away homes, businesses, and people. 

Throughout the book, McCullough brought these poor souls back to life through great prose and an ability to connect with his subjects. Even though this happened well over a century before I read the book, it made me feel, at least a bit, the devastation of the event.

By David McCullough,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Johnstown Flood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The stunning story of one of America’s great disasters, a preventable tragedy of Gilded Age America, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation’s burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was…

Isaac's Storm

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Richard Hargreaves Author Of Hitler's Final Fortress: Breslau 1945

From the list on page-turning narrative history.

Who am I?

Narrative history isn’t about dates, kings, and queens. It’s about deeds, actions, experiences, decisions of people great and small. It’s about putting the reader in the middle of a drama and watching events unfold around them as if they were there so they can understand, observe, and perhaps ask: what would I have done? The best history writing shouldn’t just inform, but inspire you, make you feel: laugh, cry, feel angry, flinch at horrific sights, cheer the heroes, boo the villains, because history is made by ordinary people, good and bad, who possess many similar traits to the reader.

Richard's book list on page-turning narrative history

Why did Richard love this book?

Isaac’s Storm brings the hurricane which hit Galveston, Texas, in September brilliantly to life, revolving around the central figure of the city’s official weatherman, Isaac Cline. 

I’ve read the book half a dozen times—it reads like a novel, its descriptions are vivid, horrific, haunting. The tension rises like the waters—it’s as close to being at the eye of a hurricane without… well you get the picture. Gripping from the first page to the last.

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Isaac's Storm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of The Devil in the White City, here is the true story of the deadliest hurricane in history.

National Bestseller

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history--and Isaac Cline…

Book cover of Mighty Storms of New England: The Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Blizzards, and Floods That Shaped the Region

Timothy Minnich Author Of Blizzard!! The Great White Hurricane

From the list on the drama of historic Northeast US snowstorms.

Who am I?

I have always been obsessed with the weather.  From the third grade, I knew that I would be college-bound to get my degree in meteorology (I have two). I can still distinctly recall, as a very young boy in the early 1960s, sneaking my trusty transistor radio under the pillow, eagerly anticipating the latest update every time a snowstorm was on the horizon. And my passion for big storms—especially those of the snow variety—has only grown greater over time.  Whenever a snowstorm is occurring, I’m up every hour or so all night long “just to check the radar”—my patient, long-suffering Sweetheart (wife) will attest to that!

Timothy's book list on the drama of historic Northeast US snowstorms

Why did Timothy love this book?

Eric Fisher has been Chief Meteorologist at WBZ-TV in Boston since April 2013, and was an on-camera meteorologist for The Weather Channel before that. In this 2021 book, Fisher is able to strike the perfect balance between the “what’s so” and the “why” behind these historic storms (as well as with other types of natural disasters affecting New Englanders). This rare quality, augmented by his meticulous research of historical accounts of these events, including the impressive array of meteorological records broken along the way, enables him to present an enjoyable, educational read—especially for the interested layperson. 

By Eric P. Fisher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mighty Storms of New England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New England landscape has long been battered by some of the most intense weather in US history. Discover the legendary storms that have devastated New England, including: the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 that killed 564 people; the Worcester Tornado of 1953; the Snow Hurricane of 1804 that demolished orchards and killed dozens of sailors off the coast; and the Blizzard of 1978 that brought Boston to a standstill for weeks.

Everything in Its Path

By Kai T. Erikson,

Book cover of Everything in Its Path

Sharon L. Cohen Author Of Disaster Mental Health Community Planning: A Manual for Trauma-Informed Collaboration

From the list on helping individuals respond to traumatic events.

Who am I?

Sometimes you need to search for the next roads to take in your life; other times these roads approach you. I was looking for new ways to use my long-term communication and mental health advocacy skills and then, sadly, the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. I immediately wanted to help community members ease their pain and assist cities nationwide to greatly improve their disaster mental health response. I never expected a pandemic would arrive only two months after I published, making my book all the more important. Now climate change is exacerbating our already stressful times, and we must act to stem mental health issues before they become out of hand.  

Sharon's book list on helping individuals respond to traumatic events

Why did Sharon love this book?

This classic award-winning book is a must-read for anyone interested in traumatic events. Sociologist Kai Erikson was the first to equate a major disaster with individual and community upheaval, based on the 1976 Buffalo Creek dam flood. He details how this event traumatized individuals and caused a breakdown of community relationships and a rise in crime, unethical behavior, and major out-migration. Many of the emotional and social effects of disasters had not been discussed or treated when this book was written. Much has been learned since. However, Erikson stresses that many of the psychological and sociological problems continue to exist when calamities occur today and must be resolved. 

By Kai T. Erikson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything in Its Path as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 1977 Sorokin Award–winning story of Buffalo Creek in the aftermath of a devastating flood.

On February 26, 1972, 132-million gallons of debris-filled muddy water burst through a makeshift mining-company dam and roared through Buffalo Creek, a narrow mountain hollow in West Virginia. Following the flood, survivors from a previously tightly knit community were crowded into trailer homes with no concern for former neighborhoods. The result was a collective trauma that lasted longer than the individual traumas caused by the original disaster.

Making extensive use of the words of the people themselves, Erikson details the conflicting tensions of mountain life…

Earthworm Gods

By Brian Keene,

Book cover of Earthworm Gods

Olen Crowe Author Of The Caverns

From the list on reads like B-horror movies.

Who am I?

My favorite books as a child were the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. This began my love of all things horror (including cheesy, campy B-horror). The movies that people love to hate (and also the books that stir up the same emotions) combine humanity's most basic instincts: fear, lust, and humor. Bringing these three together in perfect union creates a combination I can't get enough of. It's what drives my own writing and my insatiable desire to seek out more stories like this.

Olen's book list on reads like B-horror movies

Why did Olen love this book?

"I want to read a book like the 1990s cult classic movie Tremors; hold the (Kevin) Bacon, please." Funny you ask! Earthworm Gods (or its alternate title, Conqueror Worms) will scratch that itch while throwing in some ancient one worship à la Lovecraft. One day it starts to rain, and then the rain never stops. Monstrous earthworms terrorize the townspeople. What happens next? Probably not what you expect. There's enough quirkiness in here to keep it light, so you can chuckle while watching the world go down in flames (; just what you'd expect from a rainy, Saturday night B-horror film.

By Brian Keene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earthworm Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


One day, it starts raining-and never stops. Global super-storms decimate the planet, eradicating most of mankind. Pockets of survivors gather on mountaintops, watching as the waters climb higher and higher. But as the tides rise, something else is rising, too.

Now, in the midst of an ecological nightmare, the remnants of humanity face a new menace, in a battle that stretches from the rooftops of submerged cities to the mountaintop islands jutting from the sea. What hope does an already-devastated mankind have against this new supernatural adversary.

The old gods are dead. Now is the time…

The House That Sailed Away

By Pat Hutchins, Laurence Hutchins (illustrator),

Book cover of The House That Sailed Away

Chris Callaghan Author Of The Great Chocoplot

From the list on reluctant readers to discover a love of reading.

Who am I?

I didn’t read much when I was young. But I’ve always loved stories, and found them in TV, films, and comics. It wasn’t until I was older that I found that books can contain the most amazing adventures that connect with your imagination and makes them seem even more real than on the big screen. Discovering children’s books with my daughter, and writing my own, I wished I could have read more when I was young. I try my best to encourage young people to find the joy in reading, in the hope that they don’t miss out on all those amazing stories.

Chris' book list on reluctant readers to discover a love of reading

Why did Chris love this book?

This was probably the first book I ever chose to read. I read books at school or for school, but I saw this being read on Jackanory (for the young ones, that was a TV programme where a book was read by a famous person over five days) and went to the library to borrow a copy. I just couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

It’s a crazy story of a house that floats off down the street during a particularly bad storm. The family has all sorts of strange adventures on the high seas. It really appealed to my sense of humour and general wackiness.

I read it to my daughter many years later and loved it even more. 

By Pat Hutchins, Laurence Hutchins (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House That Sailed Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Illustrated by Laurence Hutchins. Grandma, Mother, Father, Morgan, the baby and Tailcat find themselves catapulted into the whackiest adventure ever when their house floats off down the street and out to sea! Blood-thirsty pirates, a kidnapping and buried treasure are just some of the hair-raisers in store in Pat Hutchins' own adaptation of her ever-popular children's novel.

A Flood of Kindness

By Ellen Leventhal, Ellen Leventhal, Blythe Russo (illustrator)

Book cover of A Flood of Kindness

Janie Reinart Author Of When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children

From the list on hope-filled children’s stories.

Who am I?

I am a word gatherer. I can sweet-talk a phrase here and surprise a pun there—finding the words to hold a feeling. I revel in playing with words for the sheer joy of writing. My passion is cultivating the heart-to-heart writer/reader connection. A joy-bringer, my glass is always half-full. A former Poetry Day Liaison for OCTELA (Ohio Teachers of English Language Arts), a Teacher Consultant with the National Writing Project, educator, author, and poet, I share hope-filled stories and poems.

Janie's book list on hope-filled children’s stories

Why did Janie love this book?

I appreciate the gentle way Ellen Leventhal empowers children in this picture book—showing even the youngest child can do small things to help others. Charlotte, the main character, her parents, and her toy bear arrive at the shelter after evacuating their home because of flooding. Charlotte watches people at the shelter and in the community share acts of kindness with the flood victims. Even though she is sad and upset, she follows their example. When Charlotte sees a younger child crying because his teddy was lost in the flood, she gives her stuffie to the little boy. It reminds me of how attached my two-year-old grandson is to his teddy bear. These small gestures shine a light of healing and hope during a natural disaster. 

By Ellen Leventhal, Ellen Leventhal, Blythe Russo (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Flood of Kindness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perfect for all children experiencing loss or grief, A Flood of Kindness gracefully confronts difficult feelings and celebrates the healing power of kindness.

"The night the river jumped its banks, everything changed."

So begins A Flood of Kindness, a poignant picture book that addresses grief and loss and demonstrates how kindness can bring hope. Written in spare prose and told from an intimate first-person point of view, the story follows Charlotte, a young girl who watches floodwaters rise in her home and is forced to evacuate to a storm shelter with her parents. Kind people she doesn't know give her…

Rivers Remember

By Krupa Ge,

Book cover of Rivers Remember: #ChennaiRains and The Shocking Truth of a Manmade Flood

Seema Mundoli Author Of Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

From the list on the environment by women writers from India.

Who am I?

I have had an affinity for nature since my childhood, but I did not train as an ecologist. An increasing concern about the environment, and the people more adversely affected by ecological degradation, made me switch careers early. I have worked on issues around conservation, land and forest rights of indigenous communities, and on the importance of nature in cities. Today I am an educator with a responsibility to communicate not only about environmental issues, but why it is a priority for communities in India. I am proud to be a part of the community of women writers on the environment in India whose voices and experiences need to be heard.

Seema's book list on the environment by women writers from India

Why did Seema love this book?

How would you deal with surviving a disastrous flood that swallows your childhood home? Krupa Ge does this by channeling her rage and anguish into a book. Writing about the devastating floods that hit her hometown Chennai, in southern India, in 2015, she deftly weaves her own experience of being stranded in the flood, worrying about her family, into the larger narrative of state apathy and culpability. At the core, this is a book about environmental injustice. The poorest in the city were the worst affected, losing family and all their possessions. And yet it was also the poor who showed extraordinary resilience and compassion: the fishermen who rescued stranded and recovered bodies or sanitation workers themselves affected but who turned up to clean the city.

Through meticulous research, the book unravels the causes of this man-made disaster, mincing no words in holding the state responsible for what it was…

By Krupa Ge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rivers Remember as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


By Julie Bertagna,

Book cover of Exodus

Phil Gilvin Author Of Truth Sister

From the list on post-civilisation futures.

Who am I?

As a teenager I loved the post-apocalyptic genre, especially John Wyndham and H G Wells, and as a scientist I’ve become increasingly aware of the threats to society, especially from climate change and pandemics. But it seems to me that any collapse will be gradual: yes, the weather will worsen, and the seas will rise; but those won’t happen overnight. We’re unlikely to see a pandemic that kills everyone, but we could well see a train of smaller ones. This is the world of Truth Sister: it’s changed, but we’ve had time to adapt. The books in my list have different takes on how a post-civilisation world might look. Enjoy!

Phil's book list on post-civilisation futures

Why did Phil love this book?

This early-21st-century novel takes rising sea levels as its starting point, and tracks young Mara as she leaves her home island and heads south, towards supposed safety.

I liked that not only does Mara encounter the starving people of the Netherworld, but also the privileged elite who live in “sky cities”. The growing gap between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, has resonances for our own societies today.

By Julie Bertagna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exodus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fifteenth anniversary edition of Exodus, a startling, thrilling novel set in a dystopian future ravaged by global warming

It is 2099 - and the world is gradually drowning, as mighty Arctic ice floes melt, the seas rise and land disappears forever beneath storm-tossed waves. For fifteen-year-old Mara, her family and community, huddled on the fast-disappearing island of Wing, the new century brings flight. Packed into tiny boats, a terrifying journey begins to a bizarre city that rises into the sky, built on the drowned remains of the ancient city of Glasgow. But even here there is no safety and,…

The Emerald Mile

By Kevin Fedarko,

Book cover of The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon

Merri Melde Author Of Tevis Cup Magic: Taking on the World’s Toughest 100 Mile Endurance Ride

From Merri's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Horse lover Traveler Hiker Photographer Raven fanatic

Merri's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Merri love this book?

I love reading about a good outdoor adventure that is something I would never attempt in a place I would love to be, one that has me on the edge of my seat and gets my heart thumping, with real people I can relate to. This book has it all for me.

Taking place in one of America's most iconic outdoor regions, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, this book is not just about the thrill of white-water rafting (which it certainly has!). Fedarko gets to the heart of the intrepid adventurers who fiercely defend the outdoors, uphold traditions, and take on a raging river when Nature is at its wildest.

This book gave me wild rafting dreams at night and inspired me to set a goal of hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim this winter!

By Kevin Fedarko,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Emerald Mile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of Outside magazine’s “Literary All-Stars” comes the thrilling true tale of the fastest boat ride ever, down the entire length of the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, during the legendary flood of 1983.

In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” at the head of the…

Rising Tide

By John M. Barry,

Book cover of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

Karl F. Seidman Author Of Coming Home to New Orleans: Neighborhood Rebuilding After Katrina

From the list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans.

Who am I?

After hurricane Katrina, I was shocked by the scale of displacement and devastation, and the failed government response. I decided to use my planning classes at MIT to assist with rebuilding efforts. Over the next ten years, my students and I worked with several dozen organizations across New Orleans and provided ongoing assistance to three neighborhoods. Through this work and my relationships with many New Orleanians, I learned so much about the city and came to appreciate how special New Orleans, its way of life and people are.   

Karl's book list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans

Why did Karl love this book?

There is no New Orleans without the Mississippi River.  

Rising Tide tells the story of government and engineers’ flawed efforts to control this mighty river, and how they contributed to the disastrous 1927 flood that left over one million people homeless and destroyed scores of towns. 

It provides a rich picture of the enduring social and racial divides in early twentieth-century New Orleans.

Moreover, it reveals how the city’s wealthy white leaders chose to flood neighboring communities to protect the city while undermining efforts to compensate the victims—creating a precedent for injustice and corruption, and ensuring a long-standing distrust of the city’s levees and flood control system.    

By John M. Barry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Rising Tide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.

An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of almost one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of African Americans north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

The flood brought with it a human storm: white and black collided, honor…

The Hundred-Year Flood

By Matthew Salesses,

Book cover of The Hundred-Year Flood

Rosanna Staffa Author Of The War Ends At Four

From the list on the unexpected ways we find home.

Who am I?

I'm an Italian-born writer living in Minneapolis. I experienced being an outsider early on in my childhood when my family moved from Naples to Este, a small town in the hills near Venice. My fascination with language started then as I had to master the different Northern dialect. I was a listener rather than a talker. My shyness was painful in life but turned out to be a gift as a writer. When I left Italy for America, once again I was an outsider, too visible or invisible, and facing a new language. I relate to estrangement and longing, but I treasure that being an outsider still gives me a sense of wonder about reality.

Rosanna's book list on the unexpected ways we find home

Why did Rosanna love this book?

I’m deeply affected by the poetic, haunted quest of a Korean adoptee who seeks his place in the world, shifting back and forth in time— Tee’s present in a Massachusetts rehab facility with his time in Prague. 

I respond to how present the awareness of being other is, while I can occasionally pretend to forget mine. I share the question about the past.

Tormented about being an adoptee, Tee left his family behind after facing the tragedy of an uncle’s suicide and a disturbing revelation from his father. In Prague, he has newfound happiness interrupted by a forced evacuation because of an epic flood that comes every 100 years.

Tee decides to remain with his lover: “If the water did rise and cut them off from the rest of Prague, they would be unreachable,” Tee thinks, “even from his pasts.”

By Matthew Salesses,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hundred-Year Flood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Native Speaker and The Family Fang, Matthew Salesses weaves together the tangled threads of identity, love, growing up, and relationships in his stunning first novel, The Hundred-Year Flood. This beautiful and dreamlike debut follows twenty-two-year-old Tee as he escapes to Prague in the wake of his uncle's suicide and the aftermath of 9/11. Tee tries to convince himself that living in a new place will mean a new identity and a chance to shed the parallels between him and his adopted father. His life intertwines with Pavel Picasso, a painter famous for revolution; Katka, his equally…