At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf. That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not. In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced. In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss. Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.
The Galveston storm of 1900 reduced a cosmopolitan and economically vibrant city to a wreckage-strewn wasteland where survivors struggled without shelter, power, potable water, or even the means to summon help. At least 6,000 of the city's 38,000 residents died in the hurricane. Many observers predicted that Galveston would never recover and urged that the island be abandoned. Instead, the citizens of Galveston seized the opportunity, not just to rebuild, but to reinvent the city in a thoughtful, intentional way that reformed its government, gave women a larger role in its public life, and made it less vulnerable to future storms and flooding. This extensively illustrated history tells the full story of the 1900 Storm and its long-term effects. The authors draw on survivors' accounts to vividly recreate the storm and its aftermath. They describe the work of local relief agencies, aided by Clara Barton and the American Red Cross, and show how their short-term efforts grew into lasting reforms. At the same time, the authors reveal that not all Galvestonians benefited from the city's rebirth, as African Americans found themselves increasingly shut out from civic participation by Jim Crow segregation laws. As the centennial of the 1900 Storm prompts remembrance and reassessment, this complete account will be essential and fascinating reading for all who seek to understand Galveston's destruction and rebirth.
This devastating book illuminates America's gun culture -- its manufacturers, dealers, buffs, and propagandists -- but also offers concrete solutions to our national epidemic of death by firearm. It begins with an account of a crime that is by now almost commonplace: on December 16, 1988, sixteen-year-old Nicholas Elliot walked into his Virginia high school with a Cobray M-11/9 and several hundred rounds of ammunition tucked in his backpack. By day's end, he had killed one teacher and severely wounded another. In Lethal Passage Erik Larson shows us how a disturbed teenager was able to buy a weapon advertised as "the gun that made the eighties roar." The result is a book that can -- and should -- save lives, and that has already become an essential text in the gun-control debate. With a new afterword. "Touches on all aspects of the gun issue in this country. Gives great voice to that feeling...that something real must be done." --San Diego Union-Tribune "One of the most readable anti-gun treatises in years." --Washington Post Book World
One hundred years after the hurricane of 1900 devastated Galveston, Texas, it remains the most deadly natural disaster in United States history. Although many heeded the warnings of local weatherman Dr. Isaac Monroe Cline, numerous others did not. More than 6,000 souls perished. Shortly after the storm, author Nathan C. Green set out to share with the world the Story of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane . For those who had lost their lives, he would become their voice; for those who had somehow miraculously survived, he would become their chronicler. To further memorialize the events of the Galveston Hurricane, Pelican has reprinted Dr. Isaac Monroe Cline's Storms, Floods and Sunshine: An Autobiography, which it first published in 1945.
"There is nothing imaginary about Junger's book; it is all terrifyingly, awesomely real." —Los Angeles Times It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high—a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm." In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we've been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control. Winner of the American Library Association's 1998 Alex Award.
An account of the May 1999 tornado outbreak in Oklahoma describes the particular devastation wrought by an F5 twister whose winds were the fastest ever recorded, drawing on first-person interviews to recount the experiences of its victims, from a woman who sought shelter underneath a highway overpass to a meteorologist who saved hundreds of lives with his warning reports. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
'A big, bold approach to the writing of narrative non-fiction . . . it shows how tiny lives may occasionally become caught up in the wonders of the age' GUARDIAN In 1910, Edwardian England was scandalized by a murder. Mild-mannered American Hawley Crippen had killed his wife, buried her remains in the cellar of their North London home and then gone on the run with his young mistress, his secretary Ethel Le Neve. A Scotland Yard inspector, already famous for his part in the Ripper investigation, discovered the murder and launched an international hunt for Crippen that climaxed in a trans-Atlantic chase between two ocean liners. The chase itself was novel, but what captured the imagination was the role played by a new and little understood technology: the wireless. Thanks to its inventor Marconi's obsessive fight to perfect his machine, the world was able to learn of events occurring in the middle of the Atlantic as they unfolded - something previously unthinkable. It was the Crippen case that helped convince the world of the potential of Marconi's miracle technology, so accelerating the revolution that eventually produced the modern means of communication we take for granted today . . .