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Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Scritto da Erik Larson

Narrato da Richard Davidson


Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Scritto da Erik Larson

Narrato da Richard Davidson

valutazioni:
4/5 (99 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
9 ore
Pubblicato:
Jun 20, 2006
ISBN:
9781501974403
Formato:
Audiolibro

Nota del redattore

In the news…

As hurricane season heats up, bunker down with this riveting account of the hurricane that devastated Galveston in 1900, killing thousands. A story of folly and perseverance from the author of “The Devil in the White City.

Descrizione

Erik Larson is a regular contributor to national magazines including Time, The Atlantic, and Harper’s. Filled with images as powerful as the hurricane it describes, Isaac’s Storm immediately swept onto best-seller lists across the country. In 1900, Isaac Monroe Cline was in charge of the Galveston station of the U.S. Weather Bureau. He was a knowledgeable, seasoned weatherman who considered himself a scientist. When he heard the deep thudding of waves on Galveston’s beach in the early morning of September 8th, however, Cline refused to be alarmed. The city had been hit by bad weather before. But by the time this storm had moved across Galveston, at least 6,000—probably closer to 10,000—people were dead, and Cline would never look at hurricanes the same way again. Based on a wealth of primary sources, Erik Larson’s unforgettable work will haunt you long after the final sentence. Narrator Richard M. Davidson infuses each chapter with added intensity.
Pubblicato:
Jun 20, 2006
ISBN:
9781501974403
Formato:
Audiolibro

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  • Many are questioning the decision not to issue an evacuation order for Houston as Hurricane Harvey approached. Back in 1900, Galveston meteorologist Isaac Cline ignored warning signs of the storm, and it remains the deadliest natural disaster in US history.

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    Isaac Cline was a weatherman, a scientist, and part of the infant Weather Bureau, a federal agency organized to predict weather. Isaac was stationed in Galveston at a time Galveston was competing with Houston to become the top port on the Gulf Coast (and had a good chance of winning that competition). The common wisdom was that although Galveston was located on what was basically a sand bar and no part of it was much above sea level, it would be immune to destruction by the major storms we now know as hurricanes. In 1900, Isaac was one of those who believed that no hurricane could seriously damage Galveston.In fact, one did. To date this hurricane remains one of our deadliest natural disasters. More than 6000 people died (maybe as many as 10,000) and much of the city was destroyed. Larson describes people gathered in their houses helpless as winds blew out the windows, blew off the roofs, waves and the wind toppled houses off their foundations, tipping people into rising flood waters and waves in utter darkness, randomly to sink or swim--all making for compelling reading. There's lots of science here, and lots of human drama. Recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Erik Larson did a tremendous amount of research on this deadliest hurricane in Gaveston, Texas. Isaac Cline was sent t.o work at the Galveston Weather Station to be the chief meteorologist. Growing up in Tennessee on a farm with his younger brother, he got up at four in the morning to do the chores. He in the newspaper the Galveston was situated in a place where it would not have any severe storms.But he was too confident on September 8, 19oo,whem a horrific hurricane hit Galveston causing men, women, children and little babies perish, Isaac, himself lost beloved wife, Cora and nearly lost his youngest daughter.The coming of the storm came during a heat wave that covered most of the country. Then the rains came, up to 14 inches in one hour and sailors noticed strange green clouds.. Water began to flow into the streets. The women were worried but the men put down their concerns. Later corpses floated down the streets.Isaac searched and searched for his wife but only later found her ring. I have listened to the audio book of this non-fiction account, therefore there were no pictures, I cannot help but wonder if Isaac Cline carried with him the rest of his, much guilt for the huge loss of life and his own dear wife. The warnings and precautions that could have been taken but were not was very tragic.
  • (3/5)
    As a child, I spent a family vacation in Galveston. I remember that there was a 17 foot sea well erected behind a barrier of granite boulders twenty-seven feet in width, which has been constructed early in the 20th century. The impetus for this project is the subject of this book. On Sept. 8, 1900, Galveston received a direct hit from a hurricane who was considered by many who experienced or witnessed its aftermath as supernatural in origin. Witnesses who received no warning to evacuate "stood at windows and watched the houses around...break up, wash away, and become battering rams to knock and tear others apart as they wee hurled and swept about." Informal estimates placed the death toll at 8-10,000, three times as many as perished in the Jamestown Flood. An early responder, Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, wired after viewing the number dead, injured or homeless: "Situation not exaggerated."Isaac Cline, employee of the recently established U.S. Weather Bureau was stationed in Galveston, believed that it would be safe for residents near the ocean to seek shelter in some of the sturdier constructed homes rather than evacuate. Although worsening conditions would contradict this recommendation, Isaac had support for his decision. A noted physical geographer reported that Galveston could not be destroyed by a tropical storm. Although pioneering hurricane weathermen in Cuba warned of a potential hurricane, this advice was ignored by Willis Moore, chief of the U.S. ather Bureau. U.S. forecasters "failed to identify the storm as a hurricane and to recognize that it was not following the rules."Although Erik Larson is a journalist and not a historian, I wish I had him as a history teacher. All his books tend to take a select few individuals and relates the details of the events they find themselves surrounded by. This particular book included a compilations of recollections of several survivors as the storm approaches and hits Galveston. My tension as these individuals related the events they experienced to the point that I am resolved to never fail to heed the recommendation of authority agencies to evacuate. I highly recommend this nonfiction account of one of the "most meteorological events in the world's history."
  • (4/5)
    Gripping true story of the worst natural disaster to hit the US. One of Laron's earlier books. Well researched, fast paced, excellently written.
  • (2/5)
    Larson's book The Devil in the White City was  good enough to make my list of  100 Favorite Books of All Time, so I had high hopes for this book.  This is of narrative nonfiction that tells the biography of meteorologist Isaac Cline and the birth of the National Weather Service.  Cline was on duty in Gavelston, Texas in September 1900 when that city was hit by a hurricane leading to one of the most deadly natural disasters in American history.  The life of Cline and the vivid firsthand accounts of the hurricane are fascinating, but overall I felt this book wasn't a very interesting addiction to the the popular history genre.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    5***** and a &#10084What an extraordinary read - a page-turner about weather! But then, the hurricane that destroyed Galveston was the most deadly disaster to ever strike the United States (and still is). Larson brings the drama to life while conveying the calm of ignorance and the unbelievable loss afterwards. Very well researched. The personal stories really brought it to life. There is some detailed scientific data here, but the basic plot is gripping. I was lucky to hear Larson speak when he was on the book tour. He talked specifically about the scene when the water surges from ankle-deep to shoulder-deep in a moment, and he(Larson) thought - "My children are all under 4 feet tall; they would have drowned." Larson personalized the story by giving this thought (and others) to Isaac himself. (I couldn't help but think of this book in 2008 with Hurricane Ike bearing down on Galveston, yet again.)
  • (3/5)
    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."
  • (3/5)
    Tragic and fascinating story, well researched and laid out. The book does a good job of outlining the factors contributing to the scale and extent of the disaster. Unnecessarily lurid descriptions and outrageous conjecture marred an otherwise engaging book.
  • (3/5)
    A very vivd description of the hurricane in Galveston in the 1900. it was alittle too technical for me but erik larson does paint a very vivid description of historical events.
  • (5/5)
    Themes: hubris, disaster, hurricanes, weather, racism, sibling feudI have to start by thanking LT bcquinnsmom for this awesome read. I gave it 4.5 stars. I would give it 5 if it included maps and pictures, but otherwise, it was amazing, powerful stuff. It built rather like a storm itself - just a few hints that something wasn't right, growing slowly, and then a torrent of truly grim accounts of the horrors people faced in this awful storm. It tells the story of the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas. Modern accounts estimate 10,000 dead, including the other towns affected by the storm, but there's no way to really know how many lives were lost. If you enjoy reading disaster accounts, or studying weather, or Texas history, this makes great reading. Reminded me that this is one disaster I was happy to leave behind when I moved to Utah.
  • (4/5)
    This had a lot of fascinating things about the storm and the confidence of the time in their forecasting and ability to weather severe storms. Negatives: Some of the narrative about Isaac Cline could have been cut back and the author jumped around a bit too much when he told individual stories so when he returned to give an update on people it was hard to remember who was who. Overall, very informative and a good history of one part of the U.S.
  • (3/5)
    I dunno. I felt like there was something missing about this book, but I can't really put my finger on what it was.
  • (5/5)
    Fascinating account of the 1900 hurricane in Galveston TX, entwined with the background story of the local meteorologist Isaac Cline and meteorology in general at the turn of the century.
  • (4/5)
    Isaac Cline was a meteorologist in the fledgling National Weather Service on September 8, 1900, a day that turned on a dime and impacted over 6,000 lives in the Gulf town of Galveston, Texas. Erik Larson has written his trademark terrific narrative non-fiction account, using Cline’s own letters, telegraphs and reports, as well as the testimony of survivors of what is now known to be the greatest national disaster in American history. The most interesting part is that the hurricane that barreled down the Gulf and smashed head on into the Texas coast was never even identified as a hurricane.I really enjoyed this account of how the National Weather Service bungled the prediction of the hurricane, bickered with the meteorologists in Cuba, whom they considered alarmists, and refused to admit their errors. The morning of the storm, Cline still wouldn’t call the gale force winds by the name hurricane. The arrogance of these scientists was incredible and the lives lost in the disaster heartbreaking but Larson was absolutely terrific in the telling of the story.In 1891, Cline wrote a report stating that Galveston didn’t need a seawall because the chances of it being the target of a storm the magnitude of which a seawall would deem necessary just didn’t exist. It would never see a hurricane. That was just “absurd delusion.” The arrogance of the man was mind-boggling. And yet, on that September day in 1900, an immense hurricane unleashed its power on the population of this up and coming town:”The storm’s trajectory made Galveston the victim of two storm surges, the first from the bay, and the second from the Gulf, and ensured moreover that the Gulf portion would be exceptionally severe.” (Page 198)This is an unputdownable account of the arrogance of man’s belief in what he wants to believe and the sheer power of nature and very highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    I've been a Larson devotee since I discovered Devil in the White City. Once again he makes something that initially seems like a dull topic (history of weather?)in to a spell binding read. I was so attached to the characters that my heart broke for them all in the end. Larson has an incredible ability to draw his reader into the time period. He'll be a favorite of mine for a long time.
  • (5/5)
    Read this in 2000, the 100th anniversary of the hurricane. An excellent read.
  • (3/5)
    Full of weaselly words and phrases that let the author get away with making up whatever he wants to say in this alleged history. I'm not a fan of fictionalized history presented as fact.
  • (5/5)
    Erik Larson writes fascinating non-fiction. This book, which addresses the Galveston hurricane of 1900 or 1899 (I haven't read it in a while), not only gives you an understanding of the impact and aftermath of the storm, but takes you as far back as the butterfly-effect beginnings of the storm. The storm is treated as a character, given chapters in which it swells and changes before decimating the Gulf. Larson also uses correspondence and other media to flesh out the personal stories of the disaster, the families trapped on rooftops, etc. There is nothing dry or stuffy about the writing or content- he makes the time period and the event both immediate and real.
  • (5/5)
    1900: technology was taking off. People thought they had it made and could, if not tame nature, at least know it. The U.S. national weather service was looking for good press after their skill in predicting the weather had been openly mocked. So when a storm that went through Cuba and hit Florida didn't follow its expected course, no one would believe it was the same one, and one gathering speed and force. No one expected it to hit Galveston, Texas at all, let alone with such huge storm waves. And no one called it a hurricane, as labelling it as such was the top man's privilege and as it turns out, he knew squat.The Isaac of the story, Isaac Cline, was a top weather forecaster. His life in weather is recreated here with warmth and in specific detail. His house, his children, his daily routines, his life. The sights and smells of a town destined for greatness. Of course the town is doomed, and its demise is spelled out very clearly as it happens during the course of the storm, in particular the waves that pummel the low-lying island town. It makes for stressful, but so compelling reading. Apart from the death and destruction which I'm sure must be the drawcard for some, the value and depth of the historical information is just wonderful. And the beautiful and evocative observations peppered throughout cap it off as a very memorable read.
  • (4/5)
    Larson has created a very readable and engaging period piece giving readers the opportunity to imagine not only what life must have been like on the Texas Gulf Coast at the turn of the Century, but also how much we rely on meterological technology and disaster/storm predictions today. His narrative prosaic style brings his non-fiction to life and reminds one of the way Capote could capture factual events and "novelize" them. One becomes sympathetic with the protagonist and central character, Isaac Monroe Cline, who battles the US Weather Service as well as the "storm of the century." This is a real page-turner and while not as gripping or remarkable as Larson's The Devil in White City, this earlier title is well worth the read and any subsequent research. Bravo.kbooe
  • (5/5)
    Interesting and really well done. A comprehensive history of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 - a deadly storm of record-breaking proportions. The story of the storm is seen through the lens of the meteorologist Isaac Cline and the consequences of his actions, mistakes, and conclusions. The author's research has been exhaustive and meticulously noted from mostly primary sources. i was especially impressed with his digging in the records of the National Weather Bureau. Many of these delicate documents had not seen the light of day for 100 years. The bureaucratic detail gives another dimension to the heart-breakingly human story. Dropped one star for no photos. (I just like photos in nonfiction.) Recommended.
  • (4/5)
    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?
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    Larson writes really well. This story is decent and interesting. Not nearly as good as the story behind Devil in the White City, but written superbly. I always find myself wondering how such and such historic figure felt during whatever time of tragedy or triumph. This is why I find Larson's books so compelling. Gives me suggestions.
  • (4/5)
    While I grew up in Texas, I don't remember studying Galveston's hurricane in any history class - I don't even remember hearing much about it until college, when our Symphonic Band played a piece that had been written to commemorate it's anniversary. That piece made me want to find out more about this event. Erik covers all the bases - meteorology, the creation of the Weather Bureau, the city, Isaac as well as many other survivors and victims of the storm. As his other books, Erik writes in a interesting narrative style that makes for a great read!
  • (5/5)
    Love the detail.
  • (5/5)
    Well researched history of the 1900 Galveston hurricane with resulting flooding. Emphasis on the resident meteorologist for the US Weather Bureau, Isaac Cline. Interesting to see the history of the weather service and that our times are not unique for arrogance or weather.
  • (4/5)
    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?