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Hurricane Camille: Monster Storm of the Gulf Coast Hardcover – July 7, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 233 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi; First Edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578066557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578066551
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hearn brings readers a cinematic reconstruction of the devastating storm... he still has a reporter's eye for precise detail." -- Bookpage.com, August, 2004, by Edward Morris

"Hurricane Camille... reads like fine adventure fiction. That it is definitely non-fiction makes it all the more troubling and just downright good." -- The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, December 19, 2004, by Danny McKenzie

"In the last chapter--'The Next Camille'--Hearn points out that it is not a matter of if, but when the next killer hurricane will hit the Coast." -- Mississippi Business Journal, August 2-8, 2004

"What grips the reader by the throat are the oral histories, taken from survivors such as Paul Williams." -- The Biloxi (Mississippi) Sun-Herald, July 25, 2004, by Jim Fraiser

"With a little imagination, you'll feel as if you were actually present during that terrible night of death and destruction." -- Nationally syndicated (King Features) columnist Charley Reese, July 14, 2005

Hearn "builds an intriguing narrative out of the voices of Camille suvvivors." -- The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, August 5, 2004, by Bill Minor

Hearn "has produced a thorough, yet compact, work on the attack by this natural disaster on Mississippi's valuable Gulf Coast." -- d

Hearn's account "packs a great deal of punch" and features "a narrative style that makes it difficult to put the book down." -- Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, May 2006

Nominated best nonfiction for 2004 -- Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters

While acknowledging broader policy concerns... Hearn focuses on the variety of human experiences during Camille and does that quite well. -- The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 71, No. 3, Aug. 2005

From the Publisher

The history of Hurricane Camille is told here through the memories of those who survived the traumatic winds and tides. Their firsthand accounts, compiled a decade after the storm, and archived at the University of Southern Mississippi, form the core of this book.

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Camille was one of three category five hurricanes to strike the United States of America during the 20th Century.

With sustained winds of 200 miles per hour, the second-lowest barometric reading recorded on the face of the earth, and a record storm surge of 24 feet, it came ashore on the Mississippi gulf coast on the night of 17 August 1969. By dawn 131 people were known dead and another 41 were missing, never to be recovered. Communities on the eastern side of the Mississippi gulf coast sustained significant damage; communities on the central and western Mississippi gulf coast were devastated. The remnants of the storm then flashed north, bringing torrential rains that touched off flash floods that claimed another hundred lives in Virginia and West Virginia.

I, all of eight years old at the time, was on the edge of the storm. My family resided in Pascagoula, a Mississippi coastal community near the Alabama border. We evacuated, and although Pascagoula sustained significant damage it was mild in comparison to what we saw when we--like many others--raced to take food, water, and clothing to friends who resided further west. The images are burned into my brain.

For many years I wondered why a historian did not turn attention to the horrors of Hurricane Camille. In 2004 I was pleased to find that one had: Philip D. Hearn, working from documentation at the University of Southern Mississippi, published HURRICANE CAMILLE: MONSTER STORM OF THE GULF COAST. The book debuted with considerable fanfare on the Mississippi gulf coast--but, unlike its subject, just as quickly made a noise like a hoop and rolled away. Consequently I did not come to the book until two years after its publication. Upon reading the book I understood why it failed to satisfy.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kristy W. Howell on September 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Amazingly, Philip Hearn managed to turn seventy oral histories about the most deadly storm in Mississippi's recent history into one of the worst books I've ever read. As a Mississippi native, I heard stories of Camille throughout my childhood. I was mesmerized by the ferocity of the storm and terrified by tales of her destruction. When the Seafood Industry Museum opened on Point Cadet in Biloxi, I was one of the first in line, and I still remember chills I had when viewing the documentary "Camille, She Was No Lady." I had the good fortune to spend my formative years in Wiggins and Perkinston, Mississippi; there I learned history at Charles Sullivan's knee. My father was a colleague of his at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and I spent most of my free time pestering Sullivan for stories as only a twelve-year-old fledgling historian can pester a hero. Both in and out of the classroom my "Mr. Charlie" taught me the importance of discovering our past. As anyone who has the honor of knowing Charles Sullivan will understand, his excitement and dedication changed my life, and made a true historian of me. I will never forget the first time I read Sullivan's (as yet unpublished) manuscript about his own experiences in Camille. Years after I read it I couldn't drive down Highway 90 without seeing ghostlike images of Camille's wrath superimposed on the new condominiums and casinos.

Now, twelve years later, I have completed my formal studies with Sullivan and greatly expanded my historical knowledge at the University of Southern Mississippi where I studied under Drs. Charles Bolton and Curtis Austin, directors of the Oral History Project. One afternoon I went over to McCain Library and listened to some of the histories that Hearn massacred.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Miss Daisy on September 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was 13 yrs. old when Hurricane Camille slammed into and devastated the MS Gulf Coast in 1969. While I was not actually present on the coast but far inland we still got very high winds and damage. I also remember my Dad was among the many relief workers who went there to try to help. I ordered this book as soon as I found out it had been written, straight from the publisher. I thought it was a great read, and enjoyed it immensely, in fact I read it out loud to my husband while we were on a long road trip and he enjoyed it too. The author did a great job of describing exactly how hurricanes are formed in a clear, easy to read format. I enjoyed all the facts about previous hurricanes and how the word hurricane came to be. The stories by the survivors were more than just who died and who lived, it gave very good descriptions about what they went through to survive, i.e. holding on to something and floating out the window of your 3rd story apartment because the storm surge was 24 ft. high. You can still drive along the coast and see stairs and sidewalks that lead to nowhere even 35 yrs. later. I thought it was a great book.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Douglas on August 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is without a doubt one of the most poorly written books I have read in several years.

Tragedies such as Hurricane Camille involve so many unique individuals and communities that a writer should have no difficulty in capturing the interest and emotions of even the most casual reader. This book includes the stories of many such individuals. And yet, the presentation of these individuals is so lacking in cohesion that the reader becomes more consumed in trying to keep track of who is who than in the tragedy of their stories.

Part of the reason for this problem is the lack of depth provided by the author. Most of the survivors written about, the reader learns, have their homes flooded, lose valuable possessions (that they will no longer care about), survive by hanging on to a tree or large object, pray, and find they have lost someone in their family. True? Undoubtedly. Interesting? Not in the way that these people are portrayed. All of the stories are so similar that the reader quickly reaches the point that each reiteration brings a response of "Again? So what?" And that may be the saddest part of this book; human tragedy is reduced to being boring.

What the author fails to achieve in personality and depth, he makes up for in clichés. Concise and clear observations of events are rarely found...unless, of course, you want a history of every hurricane that has struck the Gulf Coast. This history the author feels is so important that he dedicates two chapters to the recitations; one chapter to document the loss of life for each storm and a second to document the loss of property.

As a resident of the Gulf Coast, a book such as this should hold considerable interest for me. Instead, it took me over two weeks to read the 195 small pages of narrative. I forced myself to finish just so I could justify the money that I spent.
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