Isaac's storm : a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history / Erik Larson.Material type: TextPublisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2000Edition: 1st Vintage Books edDescription: 323 p. : maps ; 21 cmISBN: 0375708278; 9780375708275Subject(s): Galveston (Tex.) -- History -- 20th century | Hurricanes -- Texas -- Galveston -- History -- 20th century | Floods -- Texas -- Galveston -- History -- 20th century | Cline, Isaac Monroe, 1861-1955 | Galveston (Tex.) -- BiographyDDC classification: 976.4139 LOC classification: F394.G2 | L37 2000b
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Based on the diaries of Isaac Monroe Cline and on contemporary accounts.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 307-313) and index.
Atlantic Ocean map -- Galveston map -- Beach: September 8, 1900 -- Law of storms -- Serpent's coil -- Spectacle -- Cataclysm -- Strange news -- Haunted -- Notes -- Sources -- Index.
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 by a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over 6,000 people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history-and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devastating personal tragedy. Using Cline's own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man's heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. Thrilling, powerful, and unrelentingly suspenseful, Isaac's Storm is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the uncontrollable force of nature.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal ReviewOn September 8, 1900, the seaside town of Galveston, TX, was struck by a storm so severe that over 8000 people perished, making it the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history. Forecasters in Cuba warned U.S. Weather Bureau officials of the approaching hurricane; why weren't they listening? As in his other works (e.g., Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun), Larson delves deeply into this tragedy by combining scientific research and social commentary with the personalized anecdotes of survivors. The narrative focuses on Isaac Cline (hence the title), an early professional weatherman based in Galveston who discounted the strength of the coming storm and endured great personal loss once it struck. Scientists and historians alike will find interest in this text, which depicts early techniques of meteorological research with the related conflicts between governmental agencies as well as insight into the overall societal values of the era. General readers will be compelled to continue as Larson reveals in heartbreaking details the storm's devastation: homes destroyed by ocean water driven by 200-mile-an-hour gusts of wind; men struggling to save their families while others pushed children away from protective shelter in order to save themselves; and, finally, the survivors frantically searching for their loved ones among the corpses buried in mud. This unforgettable work is highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/99.]ÄTrisha Stevenson, New York Univ. Medical Ctr. Sch. of Medicine Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal ReviewYA-Larson has brought together powerful elements to create one of the most memorable of the "natural disaster" docudramas that have come out recently. Meteorologists within the U.S. Weather Bureau at the turn of the 20th century had become so confident of their own forecasting abilities that they dismissed with irritation troubling weather reports out of Cuba. In a burgeoning port city like Galveston, TX, in 1900, the idea that severe damage could be done by a hurricane seemed preposterous. Following several threads at once, Larson creates a likable character in the real-life weatherman Isaac Cline, tracing his career as a meteorologist. A tropical depression takes on an ominous life of its own as it thrashes its way through the Caribbean and up through the Gulf of Mexico. The town of Galveston becomes one of the major characters in the story. Poignant details and sweeping narrative create a book that is hard to put down even though the outcome is a well-known historical fact: more than 6000 dead and an entire city devastated. At the same time, Larson chronicles a critical period of history for the National Weather Bureau. The blatant errors in judgment led to changes within that federal agency. More than anything, this is a gripping and heartbreaking story of what happens when arrogance meets the immutable forces of nature.-Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
CHOICE ReviewFascinating yet ominous, Larson's book reads as if it were a firsthand account of the deadliest storm to hit the US. (The world has experienced worse storms, many near the Bay of Bengal and also in China and Japan, but this book offers a historically based account of what it must have been like to be in the very middle of a storm.) Larson begins with a basic meteorological account, sprinkled with the history of weather service, an account of past disasters, and the biography of Isaac Cline, the person in charge of the weather office in Galveston during the 1900 hurricane. A riveting book, with appalling accounts of the approaching storm and its subsequent effects, it draws the reader into the excitement and fears experienced during a life-threatening event. The account emphasizes that water is a bigger threat than wind, although pieces of debris flying at more than 100 miles per hour (wind velocity devices ceased to work above 100 mph) kept people from seeking safer havens. Any coastal residents who take this book to heart would certainly evacuate when a storm is imminent; everyone should have a plan for safety from every type of emergency. Recommended for everyone. A. E. Staver; Northern Illinois University
Author notes provided by SyndeticsErik Larson was born in Brooklyn on January 3, 1954. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania and went to graduate school at Columbia University. Larson worked for the Wall Street Journal and then began writing non-fiction books. He is the bestselling author of the National Book Award finalist and Edgar Award-winning, The Devil in the White City, which has been optioned for a feature film by Leonardo DiCaprio. He also wrote In the Garden of the Beasts, Issac's Storm, Thunderstruck and The Naked Consumer.
Larson has taught non-fiction writing at San Francisco State University, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and the University of Oregon.
(Bowker Author Biography)