La tragedia de la inundación de San Antonio / the Tragedy of the San Antonio Flood


By Char Miller

cover image of La tragedia de la inundación de San Antonio / the Tragedy of the San Antonio Flood

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After being lost to history for more than a century, La tragedia de la inundación de San Antonio is widely available for the first time, translated into English to commemorate the hundred-year anniversary of the San Antonio flood of 1921 and the dozens of lives lost.

This short work of twenty sections paints a picture of the city's segregated population and income disparities before plunging into the disaster. Written in the style of a nineteenth-century high dramatic tragedy, the author (who remains anonymous) introduces us to the city's four rivers, usually life-sustaining resources and recreational spots, that turn villainous during this deadly storm. "San Antonio river swallowed pianos, velvet rugs, Venetian moons of unparalleled beauty and wealth. Alazán Creek drowned children, killed women, knocked down men." La tragedia's account documents the destruction, the brunt of which was borne by the city's Mexican population.

Some ten personal accounts of Mexican heroism and escape illustrate the disaster's magnitude. Some manage to survive, but others meet a tragic end. Written with dramatic flair, the accounts are often put forth as the voices of the people and provide a window into the devastation that can only come from survivors on the ground. The work ends with descriptions of early recovery and rescue efforts by the Red Cross and the Mexican organization Cruz Azul and an accounting for the flood victims.

The work in its original Spanish language and an accompanying English translation are supplemented with more than twenty black-and-white photographs taken during the flood's immediate aftermath. A foreword by Sarah Zenaida Gould and an introduction by Char Miller provide historical context.


The harrowing account of San Antonio's great flood of 1921

La tragedia de la inundación de San Antonio / the Tragedy of the San Antonio Flood