The citizens of the rainy, wind-swept islands of the United Kingdom have always lived with the threat of water, fearing its force while recognizing it as part of life. Yet meteorologists concur that flooding is becoming more frequent, and more severe. The floods of 2007 constituted the worst civil disaster in the UK’s history, and widespread flooding has continued to affect the country in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
Over several years, Ed Platt undertook a journey in which he explored floods and flooding in all its forms: travelling extensively, from the south-east, up the East Coast to Northumberland via Yorkshire and across the country to Cumbria; from north Wales, through the Somerset Levels and back to London. In seeking out flooded places and those who live in them, The Great Flood is an attempt to understand both the physical and psychological landscapes of an island that is constantly being shaped and reshaped by rivers, sea and rain.
Using a mixture of travel writing, reportage and interviews, Platt moves beyond geography, exploring the life and culture of Britain, representations of the flood in literature and mythology, and our attitudes to the idea of this powerful phenomenon in order to illuminate the reality behind the statistics and news headlines that we all too often dismiss.