Isaac's storm : a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history

by Larson, Erik, 1954-

Format: Large Print 2000
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
ACLA Mobile Library Services Large Print Books SSB F394.G2 L37 2000
Location  ACLA Mobile Library Services
Collection  Large Print Books
Call Number  SSB F394.G2 L37 2000
At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was 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 his home city of Galveston, Texas, was to him an absurd delusion, so he ignored unusual weather patterns, ominous signs, and warnings from Cuban meteorologists about an approaching storm. Within hours, at least 6,000 people would lose their lives in what is still the nation's deadliest natural disaster -- and Isaac Cline would suffer his own unbearable loss.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This engrossing disaster book concerns the Galveston hurricane of 1900, still by far the high-water mark in American natural catastrophes. Like the Johnstown Flood that occurred 10 years earlier (see David McCullough's Johnstown Flood, 1987), nature's wrath was mightily aided by man's obliviousness. Larson highlights two central actors in the drama: the hurricane itself, beginning with its origin in Saharan westerly winds, and Isaac Cline, the Weather Bureau's sentinel in Galveston. Setting the stage, Larson depicts a wealthy, optimistic Galveston, unconcerned by its site on a barrier island scant feet above sea level, blithely ignorant of the storm heading its way. En route to destiny, the hurricane previously walloped Cuba, but a Cuban forecaster's intuitive prediction that Texas was the next landfall was not permitted to be telegraphed out by the Weather Bureau's man in Havana. Skeptical of intuition, he believed in meteorological facts, which convinced him the storm was fizzling out east of Florida. For the main act, Larson reconstructs Isaac Cline's day on 8 September 1900 and ratchets up the tension as clouds gather, the effective device being the sequence of perceptions that disaster was inescapable. Were the rolling waves worrisome? If not, the splintering of the boardwalk concentrated Galvestonians' attention--but, by then, the single railroad out was cut. A further mark of Larson's depth as a writer is his ambivalence about Cline, who may not have acted as heroically as depicted in his own memoir. Although the subject is grim, this telling is a deftly told fable of folly and fate. --Gilbert Taylor"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Torqued by drama and taut with suspense, this absorbing narrative of the 1900 hurricane that inundated Galveston, Tex., conveys the sudden, cruel power of the deadliest natural disaster in American history. Told largely from the perspective of Isaac Cline, the senior U.S. Weather Bureau official in Galveston at the time, the story considers an era when "the hubris of men led them to believe they could disregard even nature itself." As barometers plummet and wind gauges are plucked from their moorings, Larson (Lethal Passage) cuts cinematically from the eerie "eyewall" of the hurricane to the mundane hubbub of a lunchroom moments before it capitulates to the arriving winds, from the neat pirouette of Cline's house amid rising waters to the bridge of the steamship Pensacola, tossed like flotsam on the roiling seas. Most intriguingly, Larson details the mistakes that led bureau officials to dismiss warnings about the storm, which killed over 6000 and destroyed a third of the island city. The government's weather forecasting arm registered not only temperature and humidity but also political climate, civic boosterism and even sibling rivalries. America's patronizing stance toward Cuba, for instance, shut down forecasts from Cuban meteorologists, who had accurately predicted the Galveston storm's course and true scale, even as U.S. weather officials issued mollifying bulletins calling for mere rain and high winds. Larson expertly captures the power of the storm itself and the ironic, often catastrophic consequences of the unpredictable intersection of natural force and human choice. Major ad/promo; author tour; simultaneous Random House audio; foreign rights sold in Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan and the U.K. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Cline, Isaac Monroe, -- 1861-1955.
Hurricanes -- Texas -- Galveston -- History -- 20th century.
Floods -- Texas -- Galveston -- History -- 20th century.
Large type books.
Galveston (Tex.) -- History -- 20th century.
Publisher Thorndike, Me. :G.K. Hall & Co.,2000
Contributors Cline, Isaac Monroe, 1861-1955.
Language English
Notes Based on the diaries of Isaac Monroe Cline and on contemporary accounts.
Originally published: New York : Crown Publishers, c1999.
Description 447 pages (large print) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 381-442).
ISBN 0783889321 (hbk. : lg. print : alk. paper)
078388933X (pbk. : lg. print : alk. paper)
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