Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While sitting in Coney Island during Hurricane Sandy, I read Isaac’s Storm by the light of a candle.. The flickering light and the howling 75 mph winds added an incredible sense of reality to the story of the Galveston Hurricane of Sept. 9, 1900. It was also a story of the beginning of the U.S. Weather Bureau and the early science of forecasting weather.
I was taken by the sense of “optimism” facing the hurricane. It was impossible for many to believe a hurricane would hit Galveston; there was a sense that Galveston was safe from a severe storm because of its technology and geography. Even after, the winds began and the ocean began to rise, people did not leave their homes. And the same was true over a hundred years later in Coney Island. People could not believe the hurricane would really hit even though the forecasters had made great advances. People not only did not evacuate, they went down to the beach to watch the great waves come in. Fear increased with the wind speeds and the loss of electricity. It was estimated that more than 6000 people died in Galveston; thankfully Hurricane Sandy left less than 50 dead in New York City. Yet the devastation and catastrophic damage was more severe.
Isaac’s Storm is an excellent read, suspenseful and historically insightful. I better understood the way a hurricane operates and why it is to e feared.
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