Dree's Reviews > The Children's Blizzard

The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin
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's review
Jun 27, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads, history, nonfiction, the-midwest
Read from June 27 to 29, 2012

A social history of the fast-moving and very strong blizzard of January 1888, which hit Nebraska and South Dakota just as schools were letting out. Virtually unexpected, temperatures dropped rapidly after a mild (for January) morning, catching children on their way home and farmers out with their livestock.

The chapters on the families are fascinating, since the author talked to descendants/relatives and had access to family records and lore, as well as local newspapers.

The chapters on the weather forecast system (new, and still part of the army at the time) are B O R I N G. And no matter how hard someone tries, explaining high/low pressure systems and pressure gradients is pretty much an impossible task without some illustrations. The book only has one map--combining "advance of the cold wave Jan 12" at 6 am, 2 pm, and 6pm, with the 2 pm pressure gradients is really not helpful. Showing pressure at the 3 times would be much more helpful, as would a map of a larger geographical area.

If this book had been just about the residents, it would have been 4 stars. If the had only been about the indicators (aka forecasters), it would have been 2. If I could have finished.

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06/27/2012 page 51
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