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Isaacs Sturm
Erik Larson
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Isaacs Sturm

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  36,734 Ratings  ·  2,970 Reviews
National Bestseller

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 in a monster hurricane that completely d
Published (first published 1999)
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Katie I actually live on the seawall in Galveston. This book is great history. We've had more recent storms (like Ike in 2008) and we'll have storms again -…moreI actually live on the seawall in Galveston. This book is great history. We've had more recent storms (like Ike in 2008) and we'll have storms again - it's a part of life living on the gulf! (less)
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erik larson is the darling of the narrative nonfiction world, and while this is the first of his books i have read, i’ve long appreciated his commitment to cover-consistency:

and then there’s this one, breaking up the visual flow:

written in 1999, this is one of his first, and i can only assume that, along with growing into a particular font-and-layout groove as his career progressed, he also grew as a writer.

'cuz this one was kind of zzzzz.

here’s the thing - i am more or less freaked out by natu
Sep 17, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who live inland.
Shelves: history, science
Ever want to read a nonfiction tragedy about a presumptive meteorologist? Exactly. Still, Isaac's Storm is an engaging cautionary tale, and one with a bit of relevance for America today. In fact the book is almost foreshadowing in that it was published just a couple of years before Hurricane Katrina. The writing in this book is not nearly as tuned as it is in The Devil in the White City, but Larson is still better at this than nine of ten nonfiction writers. Side note: when Katrina hit, several ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
It's been 15 years since I read this chilling account of the event that annihilated more than 6,000 American souls in one fell swoop, but it still haunts me.

As Galveston and Corpus Christie brace themselves for Hurricane Harvey, this fantastic book is fresh on my mind.

Today, satellite imagery and long term storm forecasts are standard fare. We've all had televisions since our parents or even grandparents were kids. Before that, radios kept people in the know. This outstanding author waltzes us
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Hurricane Irene made landfall last month, I’ll admit to feeling a tiny bit of storm envy. Ensconced in landlocked Nebraska, I could only watch on CNN and MSNBC as the winds slashed and the rain pelted and the seas rose. Friends on the east coast littered my Facebook feed with updates about closures, storm preparations, and hurricane parties. It was the last of these that really made me jealous. I love situational drinking, and a hurricane drunk sounded like a great way to wile away the wind ...more
Sep 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Erik Larson delivers every time. He has the rare ability to take historical events and weave together yarns that in the end feel like you're reading a page-turning novel. In "Isaac's Storm" Larson takes us to a thriving seaside city in Texas circa 1900, to a time when people felt they could 'control' nature. He paints the story of how the infamous hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas, on September 8th of that year devastated not just a whole community but also destroyed people's faith in man's ab ...more
'Aussie Rick'
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
What a great story! This book just raced along full of facts and interesting detail about "a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history." I must admit that when this book was first released in Australia I wasn't overly interested. It didn't sound like something that would interest me in the slightest.

How wrong can you be, after picking the book up for the third or fourth time and actually taking the time to see what the story was about I had to read it. The author, Erik Larson, present
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a book focused on the science of weather. If that subject does not intersts you, do not rad this book. You must be interested in this science. It is a book of non-fiction; don't expect a book that will relate a harrowing tale of the hurricane that destroyed Galveston in September 1900. You will get that too, but first you must build up to the storm and understand the politics dictating the actions of the Weather Bureau. The scientific facts are mixed with engaging portraya
Popular history with just enough science thrown in to explain what happened without causing the reader to go cross-eyed. Fast moving and engrossing in the tradition of the best suspense/disaster fiction only the 1900 Galveston Hurricane was real. Somewhere between 6,000-8,0000 people lost their lives and the city of Galveston, Texas sustained a body blow that derailed it's ambitions of becoming one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the United States. It's now a moderate sized city that rel ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with all of Erik Larson's books, this one is well-researched and takes the facts and blends them with personal stories. Fans of the author will find much to enjoy.
3.5 *

At the dawn of the twentieth century American's reveled in new discoveries, new technologies, mastery over everything. Isaac Cline, the chief meteorologist at the Galveston, Texas office of the U.S. Weather Bureau, was a man of science and believed no storm could do serious harm to the city of Galveston, a growing city destined for a great future. In September 1900 this cultural hubris proved deadly.

In the summer of 1900 odd things were happening. A heat wave gripped large parts of the Unit
Jan 15, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
It's probably more than a little shameful to admit it post-Katrina, but weather porn can be deeply satisfying. Hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis, mudslides, styrofoam impaling oak trees, low pressure troughs, the Beaufort scale - don't you feel a little tingly already? When we combine weather porn with the romance of a good story, we get Sebastian Junger and The Perfect Storm: the perfect balance between good science and great storytelling, weaving characters, lives, rescue efforts, and ...more
Paul Falk
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author had consumed mountains of research to produce this emotionally charged historical nonfictional account of the hurricane to end all hurricanes that consumed the city of Galveston, Texas. This had been and still remains today the most horrific loss of life due to a catastrophic event in the United States with an estimated death toll estimated at 8000. I had been dutifully reminded and ever more respectful that we are always at the mercy of Mother Nature.

On September 8, 1900, Isaac Cline
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book details the 1900 Galveston Hurricane disaster. But it does so through the life biography of Issac Cline. He was instrumental for weather prediction and some aspects of governmental weather authority connections.

Having had the Kindle read before, I finished this go around with the hardcover. I was a bit disappointed that it had some excellent charts and maps but absolutely no photographs.

Larson does these non-fiction accounts well. This was not my favorite, but it sure puts you exactly
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I became a fan of Erik Larson after reading Devil In The White City. As a bit of a history buff, I love the way he makes you feel as though you are really in whatever time period he is writing about. This book was especially interesting to me because I have been to Galveston and visited the hurricane museum. Since Erik Larson loves to give a lot of background details I had a hard time getting into the book (a problem I also had with Devil in the White City). But once the hurricane started to get ...more
I feel terrible when I say I like these sorts of books. Perhaps I should say I admire the book, the story that the author accomplished, and that I still feel heartbroken for the pain and suffering that the survivors of the disaster. They are all dead now, the hurricane killed 6,000 people more than a hundred years ago, but their suffering was real, families were blotted out entirely, people that would be great-grandchildren now, never existed because in disasters its just as much about luck as i ...more
The death and destruction described by survivors of the 1900 hurricane over the island city of Galveston is terrifying. More people perished in Galveston than in any previous U. S. disaster. Wind gusts of 200 miles an hour generating pressure of thirty tons slammed against the wall of the houses. The hurricane had travelled 800 miles and its flow was focused directly at the city of Galveston. Galveston became Atlantis.
"Mr. Youens' house rose like a huge steamboat, was swept back and suddenly di
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The first “intimation” of the true extent of the disaster, Benjamin recalled, “came when the body of a child floated into the station.”

Doesn't that send a chill down your spine? The true story of the 1900 Galveston hurricane is told in the dramatic, gripping style I am coming to love. Erik Larsen's Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History is superb. His description of the storm's progression and finally hitting Galveston is riveting. Having gone through a hurricane
An interesting and often sad of several accounts of the great hurricane that ravaged Galveston, Texas in September 1900. This Katrina class or stronger hurricane hit this city with the people having no knowledge or warning of the intensity and power these types of storms can unleash.

The book loosely follows Isaac Cline and his brother who were the weather observers working for the newly formed National Weather Bureau during this tragic event.

The beginning of the book has a general history of sev
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
This is an historical account of the devastating hurricane that destroyed Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900. Over 6000 people were killed in what has been called the greatest natural disaster in American history. Much of the story is told from the POV of Isaac Cline, the resident meteorologist for the US Weather Bureau in Galveston. Working with what by modern standards would be relatively crude instruments, the Bureau tried, and failed to map and predict the path of the storm. Political con ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ashley by: Jeannette
It’s hard to rate a book 4 (“I really liked it”) stars when its contents are so disturbing. In this case, 4 stars means excellent research and a narrative that manages to be both totally gripping and devoid of sensationalism. It feels like this book was needed in order to finally do journalistic justice to the hurricane that leveled Galveston in September 1900—because goodness knows Isaac Cline’s own accounts, which increasingly exaggerated his heroism over time, did not. And the reports by his ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's a tragedy that could not have been completely avoided, but due to man's folly became much worse than it should have been. The U.S. Weather Service in September of 1900 ignored most reports of a severe hurricane brewing in the Caribbean. Drawing on a great deal of denial and no small amount of racism, the Americans condemned Cuban forecasts (which were also understated, but not nearly so heinously) as "emotional," avoiding almost as a matter of faith "poetic" terms like "eye" (of the storm ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After suffering the effects of hurricane Irene, I thought this would be a good book to really find out how devastating a hurricane could be. I so enjoyed reading of the way in which the weather bureau of 1900 and earlier was filled with corruption and a sense that what they thought was the only right thought. I guess not much politically has changed and yet with all out modern advances, we still have such a time getting the weather right.

Isaac Cline, the meteorologist for the Galveston area put
Diana Long
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading history can be bland and dry but not so when it's written by Erik Larson who adds that human touch to the story. Still listed as the worst natural disaster in U. S. History, the hurricane of 1900 that decimated Galveston, Texas and is estimated to have taken 6-12,000 lives is the main focus of the work. The author brought the story to life through extensive research and review of documents and first person accounts. Chosen as the protagonist of this event the author selected Isaac Cline ...more
“Galveston spun through space at nine hundred miles an hour. The trade winds blew. Great masses of air shifted without a sound. Somewhere, a butterfly opened its wings.”

If you find meteorology, history, natural-catastrophes, and human interest stories fascinating, “Isaac’s Storm” makes for captivating reading. I found it extremely insightful and captivating. From various weather-phenomena facts to the inception of the Weather Bureau to the 1900 hurricane that nearly wiped Galveston Texas off th
Chris Gager
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this one from my non-fiction shelves the other day. I believe Mr. Larson is also the author of "Devil in the White City," which I read and enjoyed a couple of years ago. I'm drawn to the subject because I experienced a few nasty hurricanes as a child in Massachusetts. The worst was Carol in 1955. We were on vacation in Menemsha on Martha's Vineyard when she came through behind an incoming tide. THAT was quite a day ... Then, another one came in a few days later. Not as bad, though - Hazel ...more
Book Concierge
5***** and a ❤

What 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 o
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great historical account of the Galveston, Tx Hurricane of early 1900s. It was great.
The book Isaac's Storm describes in gory detail The Great Galveston Hurricane of Sept 8, 1900. The death count from the storm is unknown but estimated to be between 6 and 12 thousand. The storm originated near West Africa on Sept 4, caused unsettled weather in the Caribbean and emerged in the Florida Straits on Sept 5. Owing to contradictory forecasts, the people of Galveston felt no alarm until the official hurricane warning of September 7. Storm surges of over 15 feet removed over 3600 homes f ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, xmas2016
Larson's strength is amassing facts on interesting topics and turning them into story time. I am always entertained, I am always frustrated. The man cannot paint with words. I'm always having to reread, then google, to find out what the hell he's talking about.

Two examples would be:
- the bathhouses suspended above the sea. I've never seen a bathhouse except in movies of ancient times in Rome or 1800s England; all in stone. I would have liked to know what these places in Galveston looked like, h
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in history
Shelves: history, nonfiction
1900 was a time when passenger pigeons still darkened the sky, and bathing suits were made of mohair. The Spanish-American War had been waged the previous year. Galveston was a booming seaport riding high on a surge of (to the modern eye) precarious optimism. With these, and many more details, Larson immerses the reader in a zeitgeist ripe for natural catastrophe. There was a burgeoning faith in technology. The U.S. Weather Service, then part of the War Department, was like an adolescent, its ex ...more
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Around the Year i...: Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, by Erik Larson 3 10 Mar 20, 2018 07:15PM  
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Erik Larson, author of the international bestseller Isaac's Storm, was nominated for a National Book Award for The Devil in the White City, which also won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing. His latest book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, has been acquired for publication in 20 countries and optioned by Tom Hanks for a feature film. Erik is a for ...more
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“Time lost can never be recovered...and this should be written in flaming letters everywhere.” 6 likes
“This is the story of Isaac and his time in America, the last turning of the centuries, when the hubris of men led them to believe they could disregard even nature itself.” 5 likes
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