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Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  935 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Newbery Honor Book author Jim Murphy orchestrates with fact, science, technology, and sociology the testimony of survivors and victims to tell the harrowing story of the phenomenal blizzard that crippled New York City in March, 1888.
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Scholastic Press
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3.77  · 
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 ·  935 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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This book is targeted at the YA market, so it isn't a super in depth history. Actually, that's one of the big pluses for me. Murphy seems to have covered everything I want to know & he did in a way that made me feel it. He included a lot of personal accounts & wrapped up with the effects that this storm had on our society.

We've had others that were bigger before & since, but this one caused a lot of changes as it highlighted systems that had been outgrown by the population & tec
Jason Koivu
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Re-accounting and accounts of the storm of 1888 that wiped out NYC. Stories of survival and death. Quick and enlightening.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
That was the most amazing, wrenching, incredible 144 pages I have ever listened to!

A three day freak snow storm from Virginia up to the Canadian border and Michigan to the east coast that brought EVERYTHING to a stand-still. Much of the story was about the effect on New York City and the immediate country side but that was not all.

Not just what happened during the storm, but the long term legislation and disaster practices that were voted into existence afterward were discussed.

The national we
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
You won't get nonfiction that's much more detailed than what two-time Newbery Honoree Jim Murphy offers, and Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America is a story of all the little details that went wrong to set New York City and much of the Eastern Seaboard up for one of the most devastating natural disasters in the area's history. Weather forecasting was still an inexact science in the 1880s, but strides had been made. The invention of the telegraph allowed local weather observations to be shar ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this aloud to my children. We digested it a few chapters a week for three weeks. It was a good dose of reality without over-explaining too many sad details of the sorrows of the blizzard for my elementary age audience. We had very good discussions around the differences modern conveniences make contrasted with the way our reliance on them can cripple us at times, as well as general differences in technology and infrastructure through the past few centuries.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting read about 2 huge storms that merged and became one monster storm. Even though this is for kids, I liked how New York learned and adapted from the tragedy that followed this storm. They implemented changes so that the next time a storm of enormous proportion came through, they could minimize the tragedy, destruction, and death and help the clean up move faster.
A young adult novel about the New York blizzard that devastated New York in the late 1800's. I enjoyed it, though parts were harsh and described just how horrible it was for those who died during the storm. A great book for those who have read the Dear America books and want more information on historical disasters.
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
It had been an unusually winter, so mild that Longfellow,
enjoying the warm sunshine, had just penned a poem
about dandelions. Two unusual weather patterns were about to combine and bring the East Coast to a standstill. For three days, beginning on March 12, 1888, one of the greatest blizzards in recorded American history was about
to paralyze everything.

Murphy, a Newberry Award winner, has combined the personal accounts of several individuals of different ages and social positions to bring a sens
Aedan Padron
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My book is called Blizzard it's by Jim Murphy. It's about how in 1888 this blizzard hit all of northeast America and the story is told by different peoples prospective and their experiences of the blizzard and what they did in order to survive. The story also gives you information about the storm. I recommend this book if you like historic event/books. I like the book because it's being told through different prospective's from different people.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2018, audio
fairly superficial, but interesting to consider the logistics of blizzard prep, survival, and aftermath in a world without labor laws, much machinery, or easy communication.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay, so it was better than The Great Fire, but still not great. It gives the basic facts and some personal accounts. But I wanted more. I suppose it's useful as quick go-to for teaching purposes, but frankly it was no better than a long Wikipedia article. I've come to the conclusion that Jim Murphy’s writing is just not for me.

This book has only made me want to find a more in-depth book about the blizzard and New York’s history. Better yet, Erik Larson, can you write a book about this blizzard?
Brr! Reading this made me cold! Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America is a well-written account of the blizzard that struck the East Coast in March of 1888. Jim Murphy used newspaper articles, books, letters, and autobiographies written by survivors as sources for much of his information. I didn't find it quite as intriguing as The Great Fire or An American Plague, but still felt it was well worth reading. I was very interested to read about the changes that happened because of the blizzard, ...more
This book seems to have rave reviews, but I for one just thought it was okay. I'm always on the hunt for interesting nonfiction, and I usually find it in historical accounts. This was entertaining enough, and I wouldn't use a stronger adjective than that. I wasn't captivated or gripped by the account, perhaps in part because it is nearly unfathomable to me to imagine snow drifts up to a second-story window; I have lived in the south most of my life and had a hard time wrapping my head around col ...more
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Super interesting look at the major blizzard of March 1888 that slammed the eastern seaboard. Murphy does a great job sharing facts interspersed with the narratives of a number of different people impacted by the storm. Great narrative nonfiction choice for middle schoolers.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Historically accurate, written to inform and entertain - it does both. Well narrated and highly recommended.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Fascinating! I saw a documentary on this historic event, but this book was better.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
With an impressively ominous and suspenseful tone, Jim Murphy describes the meteorological, societal, and technological elements that created one of the greatest natural disasters to ever affect the American people: the monstrous blizzard of 1888. Through diligent synthesis of a wide variety of primary sources, Murphy uses personal accounts to tell the story of the storm. A seasick reporter in the New York Harbor, a seventeen year old girl traveling from Buffalo, and a hard-working factory emplo ...more
Valerie McEnroe
Someday I hope to read all of Jim Murphy's books. He combines facts, narration, and photos in a perfect blend. He often takes an obscure or little known bit of history and elevates it to prime importance. One of the reasons they are so compelling is that tragedy is usually at the heart. Often there's wrong choices made, leading to death for some and survival for others. Murphy always leaves you wondering, "What would I have done? Would I have been among the living or the dead?"

Blizzard! is about
Sydney Stockton
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Murphy tells a chilling tale of the storm that changed America. The author's representation of the history is somber during the tales of death and destruction. The images that are used in the book are pulled directly from the newspapers and articles of the time period. Each picture is accompanied with a sidebar detailing the significance of the illustration or photograph. Readers will trek the journey as they discovers the triumphs and failures of the citizens in and around New York City. Sadly, ...more
Lora Reed
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a quick "easy to read" book that was informative and filled with pictures and drawings of this infamous blizzard that hit the eastern United States on March 12, 1888. There have been other blizzards as bad and even worse than this one but this is the weather event that changed many things in America - who forecast the weather which became the United States Weather Bureau, which eventually led to the use of radar, satellite, high-speed computers and to the 95% accuracy of forecasting wea ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting account of the blizzard of 1888. It gives a lot of facts but not in a boring way, because it ties them to the lives of particular people caught in the blizzard, and you only find out what happened to them bit by bit over the course of the book. Some you expect to die manage to survive. Others of course do not. I had wondered when I started the book how a blizzard could change America, but the book explains how cities did not used to take responsibility for snow removal, and that ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
My local library's computer used some algorithm to recommend this book so it was completely on a whim that I ordered it (knowing a little about the devastating effects of this storm and wanting to know more). When it arrived, I was surprised to discover it's a book for young adults, as I was expecting something much longer and more detailed. Nevertheless, it's quite good and provides a nice summary of events while recounting several individuals struggles and deaths during the storm. It was a qui ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While this book is not a difficult read, there are so many ways this storm affected the US, not just at that time, but in the future too. A three day storm starting March 12, 1888 was not the worst snowstorm to ever hit the country nor was it to be the last. It's devistation would be profound. There would be storms which were greater, but America had learned her lessons about the need for city services, protecting the government and the president, expanding the knowledge and need for weather for ...more
Pyrate Queen
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This subtitle is so appropriate! A fantastic fiction-like account of the March 1886 blizzard that gripped most of the East Coast, this story focuses mainly on how the storm paralyzed New York City and led to the establishment of the modern subway system as well as burying power lines underground.

We also see the changes that happened to what became our present day National Weather Service on how they predict and disseminate information.

Perhaps the most intriguing, as is the case with Jim Murphy's
Debra Pawlak
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This blizzard took place in April 1888 and pummeled the east coast. After a fairly mild winter and with no warning, two massive storm systems met over the Atlantic sea coast and literally buried them in feet of snow. Hundreds died--many attempting to get to work because they desparately needed their jobs. It was literally a chilling read. Jim Murphy is a fine researche who gets into the details and brings out the every day people who were affected by the disaster. He also explained how the fledg ...more
Kelly Cassady
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is pretty simple and straightforward, but makes for an interesting read, esp for someone in the weather biz. The importantance having full time forecasters and an infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather events are the main takeaways.
Also, many of the deaths were a result of people that tried to travel to work, school, store, etc and got trapped in the snow. A reminder for next time I'm being stupid by wandering out in bad conditions.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
My son loved listening to this book. We learned more than just about the blizzard, but also about how things changed after it. We learned, again, about how a snow cave can save your life (and wind can kill you). This book covers a significant amount of material relative to the 1888 blizzard in the northeast without getting lost in the details or being too overwhelming for a third-grader. (Not of interest to my kindergartner.)
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good read. I listened to the audio book and finished it in one day. I love the authors research in this book and the interesting story he tells. I had no idea that this event happened, yet what powerful lessons can be learned from this story. Theodore Roosevelt said, "The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future". I hope anyone who believes this quote will read this book.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great audio for American Heritage Tour - especially when the weather could be an issue! An awesome introduction to how a single storm can impact lives locally and historically. Would have been even better if we'd been touring NYC on our trip, but the background information about how a city functions and the responsibility of civic leaders in natural crises was very interesting, and relevant. Excellent reader kept us on the the edge of our seats, including the dh and 14yo son.
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An American author of more than 35 nonfiction and fiction books for children, young adults, and general audiences, including more than 30 about American history. He won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2010 for his contribution in writing for teens. Jim lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, in a hundred-year-old house with his wife Alison Blank, a children’s TV produce ...more