First published in 2000
written by Erik Larson

This is a historical account of the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States mainland. The storm hit Galveston, Texas (just south of Houston) -September 8, 1900. Fully half of the city was destroyed and more than 6,000 lives were lost in less than 24 hours.

The research that Larson put into this text is extensive. In an effort to add a background of human relationships to historical fact, Larson spent literally years and miles piecing together personal correspondence, newspaper accounts and government memos. The end result is a history of both the science of the storm and the full weight of the human tragedy.

For all of the detail given to both historical documents and scientific explanation, what makes the book remarkable is the beautiful prose. Skies are described as mother of pearl in color and the turn of the century streets are filled with "the aroma of freshly cut lumber and horse sweat" With these words and in this fashion, Larson lulls us into the false sense of security of the times, making the explosive destruction more palpable.

Hubris, greek tragedy (including funeral pyres) and poltical intrigue all play parts in the book. It is both educational and breathtaking.

Most highly recommended for anyone living near an ocean.

the book-Issac's storm

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