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Customer Review

187 of 194 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eerie and Powerful description of a Natural Disaster, July 30, 2000
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This review is from: Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History (Paperback)
Are there other folks out there who enjoy reading true accounts of someone else's misfortune, especially if that misfortunate involves a titanic, unstoppable force of nature? A few, really good examples of this true-life disaster genre that I've read over the years are: "The Earth Shook - The Sky Burned" (San Francisco Earthquake)"; "The Coming Plague" (newly emerging diseases); "Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals" (doomed on Lake Superior, etc.); "Rats, Lice, and History" (a biography of typhus); and "Isaac's Storm" (the Galveston hurricane of 1900).
Erik Larson's book on the deadliest hurricane in history has two main focal points: the hurricane itself; and the human drama of Isaac Cline, the Galveston meteorologist who failed to predict the intensity of the storm. The book meanders through occasional dry stretches of Isaac's pre-storm biography, and through the history of the U.S. Weather Bureau (they were interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the storm), but once it focuses on the events of September 8, 1900 and beyond, I wasn't able to set "Isaac's Storm" down. Especially compelling are the eerie descriptions of what it's like to sail through the eye of a hurricane, and of course the narrative (from the viewpoints of several survivors) of what it was like to be in Galveston before, during, and after the storm. If you are afraid of storms or of water, you might not want to read this book because Erik Larson puts you right there when the storm debris is caving in the side of your house, or when the "tide suddenly rises fully four feet at one bound".
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 16, 2012 5:45:35 PM PST
sewin'sq says:
To "starmoth": Yep, I'm also one of those interested in natural disaster/survival stories. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Also great, if you're not already familiar with them are: "The White Cascade", an excellent telling of the little known disaster of the nation's worst avalance in history, taking place here in WA St. in Mar 1910 at Steven's Pass in the Cascade Mts. There were numerous horrific winter storms following on the heels of one another over a week or so. 2 trains were stranded up there & in spite of desparate efforts to get them out, were unable to do so. There were soon multiple avalanches in that area, one of which tore both trains off the tracks & plummetting down the mountainside, killing around a 100 or more souls. It is a gripping read! There are also some related books, but which I've not read yet.
Also great are many of the Donner Party disaster books, which I am now working my through some of them, as well as a PBS documentary on the topic.
Thanks for your input. Hope mine helped you, too, & that I didn't ramble too miuch!
sq

Posted on Jan 16, 2012 5:46:23 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 16, 2012 5:46:44 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2012 6:19:31 PM PST
ealovitt says:
I'm adding "White Cascade" to my shopping cart, right now. You might be interested in some of the titles in this list:
http://www.amazon.com/Favorite-Natural-Disaster-Books/lm/35DBYH88R5VDT/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full. Thanks for writing!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2015 12:19:37 PM PDT
Thanks for the review. I have read all 3 of the books you mentioned so will definitely add the Larsen book and probably "White Cascade".

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2015 1:30:38 PM PDT
ealovitt says:
Enjoy! It's good to know there are other armchair disaster junkies out there.
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