Reader reviews for Isaac's Storm : A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurrican...

If I can refer to reading about the tragic situation of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane as “enjoyable” without seeming like an A-hole then I will. Larson – later author of the excellent book about the Columbian Exposition and the lunatic hotelier a few blocks away – can certainly reconstruct a story. In this case he utilizes memoirs and other documents of a select few survivors as well as Weather Bureau archives and the history of scientific inquiry into hurricanes to recreate the days surrounding this monstrous occurrence. His attention to detail (and educated speculation) renders the experience of inhabiting Galveston at that time – the exciting milieu of a burgeoning, cosmopolitan city abruptly transformed into a horrendous, putrefactive zone of disaster – quite powerfully. Secondary, but important themes include both the Industrial Age arrogance of man’s apparent dominance over nature, and the equally arrogant disregard by the fledgling US Weather Bureau of the forecasts of the more expert Cuban meteorologists (they were seemingly “backward islanders” who resorted to “hunches” and “psychoanalytical approaches” that, nonetheless typically proved more accurate than the “scientific” data produced by our US counterparts).My primary critique is that, by utilizing the stories of just a handful of survivors, there’s something like a sensationalist gloss added to the story. I certainly don’t wish to downplay the sheer destructive magnitude of this event and the apparent loss of 19% or so of the inhabitants, but reading the events as apparently experienced by these select few, one would assume 80% to 90% of the population must have perished. He's writing about the vantage point of someone who's a sole-survivor of eight, floating on an upturned roof, scanning their neighborhood mid-storm, no one’s around and there’s like one building left – and then it inevitably breaks into pieces! The map in the front and the brief mention of death toll by neighborhood near the conclusion (10 to 21 percent) seem to contrast wildly with the narrative. But I’m sure that’s how it happened in the most vulnerable sections of town, and a more comprehensive presentation might have dragged on. This is certainly an engaging quick read.And, at the very least, Larson feeds my constant desire for useless randomness with the fact that, because of much controversy, Arkansas had to finally pass a bill legislating the pronunciation of “Arkansaw” around 1882. Did y’all know that?
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This is a creative retelling of the events leading up to the Galvestion hurricane of 1900 based on extensive research and personal accounts. I was raised in Texas and grew up going to Galveston nearly every summer during my childhood, but despite my many visits, I'd never really heard much about the Great Hurricane. This book was fascinating, terrifying, and very well-written. The descriptions of Cline's life are based partly on Cline's own biography, but much of the day-to-day writings are fictionalized. The fiction is seamlessly blended with information on hurricanes, the history of hurricane forecasting, and accounts of hurricanes past.
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This is a book I have recommended to friends, particularly following the huricanes in the Gulf region during the past few years. It is remarkable that our reporting system began in such difficulty and could not be overcome to save the citizens of Galveston.
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I loved this book. Regretably, I loaned it out and never saw it again!! But with that being said, I liked it enough that I will replace it in my library when I come across it again. Historically very interesting book - I learned so much.
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Before the days of radar and the Weather Channel, hurricanes would strike full force with little or no warning. This book describes the deadliest of these storms, an unnamed but incredibly intense category 5 hurricane that struck Galveston in 1900. It is a fantastic account that I couldn't put down. I've only experienced a category 1 hurricane first-hand (Jeanne went right over Plant City in 2004), but this book gave me an appreciation for the power and terrifying nature of hurricanes that I just didn't have before. Gripping tale for any reader; an absolute must-read for weather geeks.
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After reading In the Garden of Beasts, I realized that I had another Erik Larson book on my shelf – been there for years. And then, at our church retreat last weekend, I was talking to Shawn Pulsifer about Katrina (he's from the South), and the damage to it, and when I got back, it just seemed the perfect time to pull this book down and finally read it. And I very much regret the delay! I have to fault him for calling it “the Deadliest Hurricane in History”: deadliest hurricane in American history, yes (at least at the time he was writing), but it is an Amero-centric statement. Still, fascinating reading; I wonder what other gems I have on my shelves, neglected for the demands of library books?
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painstakingly researched, this is the remarkable story of a huge killer hurricane that caught the island of galveston by surprise in 1900. the loss of life, and near total destruction of the island were shocking at the time, and, even in light of events like hurricane katrina, remain shocking today. watching the evening news these days, it is amazing how far weather forecasting has come in 100 years, surprising how misunderstood it was back then, and how it was held in such suspicion. much of the book covers the political intrigue and behind-the-scenes back-stabbing that surrounded the establishment of the national weather forecasting system. i didn't think it was particularly well written - i would not recommend this book for it's prose alone, but the story is gripping and certainly well assembled and detailed.
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There wasn't really enough story to make a book.
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Great story, what the hell were those guys thinking - not letting those people know what was coming their way??
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An account of the 1900 hurricane that hit the city of Galveston.
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