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Isaac's Storm: A Man, A Time, and the…

Isaac's Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Erik Larson

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2,8711002,987 (4.02)266
Title:Isaac's Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
Authors:Erik Larson
Info:Crown Publishers (1999), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:Hurricanes, American History, Galveston, Texas

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Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson (1999)


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English (98)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
Larson's recounting of the hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas in 1900 is as brilliant as it is horrifying, and in many ways. By blending research from a multitude of sources with a dual focus on the people of Galveston and the other factors that played into making the storm a surprise--from departmental politics to faulty understandings of hurricanes on to science and incorrect assumptions--Larson built a compelling work.

In many ways, this is a horror story just so much as it is history or truth--so many things came together to make for this hurricane being the deadliest hurricane in US history. The idea that unknowns, natural forces, and human pride could come together in this fashion is terrifying in itself, but Larson puts so much work into bringing to life the faces and persons who were directly affected by this storm that the book takes on a larger and more human import. It reads like a novel, and yet it is built entirely of fact--fascinating, deadly facts.

This isn't a book I'll soon forget, if ever, and it's certainly one I'd recommend, though it's not an easy read, the subject is so severe. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Feb 27, 2019 |
Okay. I liked it because it was informative. But I don't love it. Erik Larson does a decent job with this research. He blends history and science and tries to provide us all with some insight into Texas life prior to the hurricane and then delves into the wrath and aftermath of the storm. Having said all this, I just can't see myself picking up another Erik Larson book.

If you have a deep love of science, climatology, or storms in general, you will get a pleasant thrill out of reading this book. As for me, I'll take this book back to the library and just get my own thrill by watching the storm-chasers in the movie "Twister." ( )
  caslater83 | Sep 20, 2018 |
I read this for my Eavesdropping Book Club. I'm not part of the actual group, but I work close enough to their monthly meetings that I hear spoilers. So I read along with their list as a form of defense.

I have actually been intending to read this for a long time, as I have heard wonderful things about several of the author's books. The timing worked out well for reading this book at this time as far as irony. Several times in the course of mentioning how the hurricane of 1900 devastated Galveston, the author mentions how Houston was the main beneficiary of the destruction as it became Texas' main port. And now here we are nearing the first anniversary of Hurricane Harvey's devastation of Houston. While costly as hell, at least the number of lives lost was a mere fraction of the Galveston tragedy. I start to think maybe we have slowly learned something from Galveston (and Katrina and Sandy, etc.), but then I remember poor Puerto Rico...

And while I did find the subject of the Galveston hurricane quite fascinating, I also found this to be one of those books that I could not read while lying down. I immediately fell asleep every time I tried.

I was a bit troubled by how much stuff the author admitted to making up in the end notes, though I do admit his dramatization made for a good narrative. I just prefer my history to be factual.

I still plan to read Larson's Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, but knowing his style now, I'll go in expecting more docudrama than history and only read while walking or using my exercise machine. ( )
  villemezbrown | Aug 17, 2018 |
A book club pick. Overall, this was a compelling read. I found the real-life history of Westerners encountering hurricanes fascinating, but the politics surrounding the Weather Bureau was a tad confusing, and sometimes I wasn't sure if the author was injecting his opinion into the text. The description of the hurricane itself, though, was vivid and absolutely terrifying. I got a real sense of what it must have been like to live through such an ordeal. ( )
  sturlington | Aug 2, 2018 |
A very well researched account of a terrible disaster at the turn of the century. The first half of the book is basically a description on how hurricanes become hurricanes and how they eventually figure out how to track their course. The second half show you he destruction that the hurricane caused to the town of Galveston, Texas and the cities north that were also hit. The town of Galveston recovered but never came back to its former glory. Most interesting read. ( )
  joannemonck | Jul 2, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erik Larsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Henderson, LeonardDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tran, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Washington, D.C.

Sept. 9, 1900

To: Manager, Western Union

Houston, Texas

Do you hear anything about Galveston?

Willis L. Moore,

Chief, U.S. Weather Bureau

For Chris, Kristen, Lauren, and Erin.
First words
Throughout the night of Friday, September 7, 1900, Isaac Monroe Cline found himself waking up to a persistent state of something gone wrong.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375708278, Paperback)

Reading in his signature dispassionate style, narrator Edward Herrmann brings an eerie calm to this powerful chronicle of the deadliest storm ever to hit the United States--a huge and terribly destructive hurricane that struck land near Galveston, Texas in September of 1900. In this abridged recording, Author Erik Larson re-creates the events leading up to the disaster in astonishing detail, tracing the thoughts and actions of Isaac Cline, a scientist with America's burgeoning U.S. Weather Bureau. Cline's unwavering confidence--"In an age of scientific certainty one could not allow one's judgment to be clouded..."--blinds the meteorologist to the deadly onslaught about to be unleashed. Herrmann's calculated performance reflects the impending doom and dangers inherent to an unquestioned and absolute faith in science. (Running time: 5 hours, 4 CDs) --George Laney

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:32 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.… (more)

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