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The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  495 ratings  ·  109 reviews
The life and death saga of one of history’s greatest storm chasers: a tour-de-force tale of obsession, ingenuity, and the race to understand nature’s fiercest phenomenon—the tornado.

“An instant classic of Americana.” —Hampton Sides
“Many a novel is not written this memorably.” The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Masterful. This is what man versus nature is all about.” —Skip Hollands
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Simon Schuster
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  495 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
4.5 courageous stars

Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. (Stephen Hawking)

Where would we be without the men and women who went ahead no matter the risks, and moved forward to understand our world better and the forces that swirl within it?

Tim Samaras was not your typical scientist/engineer. He received no formal education in his field, no college or advanced degrees and yet this man through his brilliance and obsession with tornadoes made strid
L.A. Starks
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly, highly recommended. In this debut work, Brantley Hargrove captures the adrenaline-fueled chase of tornadoes, season after season, by a man whose persistence, inventive genius, and bravery led to never-before-made measurements from inside tornadoes. Caught by the quest to explain and predict these volatile, destructive monsters, Tim Samaras spent his life getting as close as he could to tornadoes from Colorado to South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and even as far east as Alabama.

For a
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, netgalley
This was a wonderful book to give you insight into the man who chased and studied tornadoes. I, like many others, first got to know Mr. Samaras through the Discovery Channel's Storm Chaser show. This book let me know more about him, both in his personal life and his professional. For instance, I had no idea he never spent a day in college. He was so brilliant that it is hard to imagine that he didn't have a degree to his name.

To many a tornado is a thing to be feared, as it well should be! But f
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
All Netflix documentaries are about obsessives -- this one just happens to be in print form. It's a wonderfully well-written, often gripping, more than sufficiently informative, and ultimately moving literary biopic about Tim Samaras, a tornado obsessive known for his presence on the show "Storm Chasers" but who more so was an innovator/trailblazer in the field of extreme meteorology. This often reminded me of a contemporary update on Moby-Dick, with Tim like Ahab chasing that great black cloud ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tim Samaras . . . What an incredibly fascinating, brilliantly intuitive, intelligent man!! Hargrove's biography honoring him: As enjoyable to read as it is enlightening.

Four Respectfully Fascinating Stars

Review written: March 26, 2018
Star Rating: ★★★★★
Heat Rating: N/A

An Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book was received free via Netgalley for an honest review.

Several years ago - I have no way of remembering now exactly when - I saw an article out of National Geographic in my RSS newsfeed. It was about the death of Tim Samaras. At the time, I knew the name, that he was a renowned storm chaser, and now I knew he was dead. He had been killed by the very thing he spent his life chasing. I rem
Katrine Austin
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely one I'd never pick up unless I ran a book club that suggested it, and it mutually would have been a fantastic read if rated by my disaster-loving father. For me it was gripping and terrifying alternately and I'm amazed at their fearlessness for helping us understand Tornadoes better for architecture development, engineering controls and other warnings to prevent loss of life. I also had no idea the USA is fairly unique in its quantity and veracity of tornadoes, few other ...more
I put this on my "to listen" list when I saw it was a book about a tornado chaser because I love anything to do with tornadoes. It's horror, but real life, and actually terrifying. I didn't realize Tim Samaras was the guy from Storm Chasers, which I tried watching and found boring.

Which, as it turns out, was the point. Samaras was a real even-keeled sort of guy and he found the entire production to be worthwhile for the money, but all of the big dramatic stuff had nothing to do with what chasing
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
As the author mentions of the wonder, adrenaline, and a pull exerted towards hunting down the tornados, this truth work also pulled me through, as a newbie of tornados, through all the technicalities to the final days of the brave Storm chaser Tim Samaras.
Captivating at times, informative right through of the determination and obsession Tim Samaras possessed and displayed to achieve his goals against a great giant and monster, within his own David and goliath narrative, up against a devastating
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chewed my way through in less than 24 hours. A brilliantly written, accessible, informative, fast-paced narrative. A solid tribute to a man whose skills, curiosity, patience, and drive pushed the limits of science forward in a way that, one day, save more lives.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I really enjoyed this book, but towards the end knowing they were going to die and how they died just made me really sad. What a great man lost. I feel like he is more of a silent hero and someone kids could look up to about following your passion and not giving up even when everyone seems to think you will fail. Throughout the book I wanted Tim's perspective and I know that is impossible, but I wonder what his thoughts were during his career about what and why he did what he did.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Received from NetGalley. Full review to come.


Let's just get this out of the way right now - this book is one of my few 5 Star reads of the year and it was fantastic. I could not put it down. I mean, I was forced to when I had to go to work and such, but the book was an awe-inspiring glimpse into the life of a man who KNEW tornadoes and that ultimately cost him his life.

I've lived in the Midwest my whole life, Minnesota and Nebraska. I have been very lucky to have never actually crossed
Donna Hines
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spectacular, Informative , Wildly Entertaining!
Tornadoes are amazing creations of Mother Nature and while I respect them immensely I never quite understood the formation, the power, the beauty, and the exhaustive research and funding needed to keep the public safe from 'The Beast'.
Last year I found myself face to face with an EF2 Tornado in my home state of NEPA. To say I was terrified having never been involved with this force of nature is an understatement.
When I heard about this book I couldn
Peggy Ryan
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think there are enough words to describe how powerful and emotional this book is. It’s a loving testament to the lives of Tim, Paul & Carl and how deeply their loss is felt
Susan Paxton
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weather-climate
A brilliant piece of work, it's hard to believe that this is Brantley Hargrove's first book. Organized and researched flawlessly, Hargrove not only displays excellent research and writing skills, his grasp of the science is superb.

Tim Samaras, it turns out, was much more than the image portrayed in National Geographic and on the Discovery Channel. He had a reputation for being a cautious chaser, but it's shown here that he long took the kind of risks that eventually killed him, his son Paul, and
Stan Finger
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's always challenging to read a book about people you know. As a journalist, I interviewed Tim Samaras on multiple occasions and saw him present at multiple Chasercons. I also know and interviewed at least a half-dozen of the major players in this book about the man who was arguably the nation's best-known storm chaser. In many ways, Tim was the quintessential American success story: an underdog who defied conventional wisdom to conduct some of the most important tornado research ever done. To ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A solid debut.
More than a few interesting segments dealing with Tim's pod/probe creations.
I learned a few things, found myself saying, "hmmm," a few times, but that's normal for me.🙃 There are obviously still unanswered questions re decisions made in the last minutes, but those may never be answered to anyone's satisfaction. Of course, the what-ifs remain (those last two north options).
I'm left feeling profoundly sad for what Kathy is going through. As often as the multiple events pertaining t
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very engaging bio of Tim Samaras, a self-taught high school grad who ended up working in the field of engineering and chased storms. Due to Tim's talents for invention and his dedication to finding out all he could about tornadoes (so as to try to improve early warnings and thus minimize tornado casualties), he significantly advanced our understanding of tornadoes. In addition to the interesting story of Tim's life and accomplishments, the book also acts as a very educational read on the basics ...more
Eric Gramlich
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book at B&N because I thought the cover art was cool and I remembered Tim Samaras as that guy from Storm Chasers. I wasn’t exactly sure how likely I was to read the book though.

Once I picked it up to actually read through, it was hard to put down. Tim’s story deserved the skilled and thoughtful story telling of Brantley Hargrove. Not only is the story told well, but the Hargrove is able to break the science of tornadoes down into an easy to digest form.

I really cannot recommen
Marsha Herman
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this book because my husband read it, loved it and recommended I read it, too. It was a tad bit too technical for me but I sure learned a lot about storm chasers and tornados. And from now on I will ALWAYS heed the tornado siren!
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
Fascinating but a lot of the details were way over my head.
Victor The Reader
Grade: A
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I knew of Tim Samaras thru watching Storm Chasers. I will also admit to having battled storm anxiety ever since 3 tons of maple tree fell on our house in 2007 (August 23 - won't ever forget that day). That wasn't even a tornado. I really admire the guys who have put (and given) their lives at risk studying severe weather.
I was so engrossed with the minute by minute relating of Tim's losing battle with the El Reno twister, that I sat looking at Google satellite with book in lap following the road
Ken Heard
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's relatively easy to write exciting prose about the adrenaline-fueled chase of a tornado. It's something else to keep a reader spellbound with tales of attempts to fund tornado research. Brantley Hargrove has done both in this excellent book about storm chaser Tim Samaras's life. It really is a well-written book with patience for the details, understanding of the science of twisters, excitement of the pursuit and heart of the man.

Anyone who follows weather remembers that El Reno, Okla., torna
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emotional and incredibly well written. This book will stay with me for years to come.
Judith Krigman
I thought the 2nd half of the book was stronger than the first half. I wish the writer had not written in the present tense.
Patricia Romero
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Storm Chasers are some of my favorite people. Living in Oklahoma City area we see the cars and trucks with all of the equipment on the roof every day. I live with one and I remember the day that Tim died. 

We were worried sick as our family home is in El Reno/Union City took shelter and there was nothing we could do but wait. Over the scanners we heard they had found Tim's car and at first we thought he was the only one killed, but no.

Tornadoes are one of Mother Nature's most mysterious creations
Michelle Lancaster
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brantley Hargrove
The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras
Simon & Schuster
Hardcover, 978-1-4767-9609-3, (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 304 pgs., $26.00
April 3, 2018

On March 28, 2017, in Dickens County, Texas, just west of the city of Spur, shortly after a tornado warning was issued, three storm chasers, two of whom were contractors for The Weather Channel, were killed when their vehicles collided during a ch
Becky Condit
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As with many in depth biographies, this one begins in the subject’s childhood. The Man Who Caught the Storm is an incredible free-fall into not only the life of Tim Samaras but also into the objects that consumed his mind, tornados. Tim wanted to know the what, why, where, and how of these storms that are hard to pin down yet only elusive until they destroy lives and property.
Tim is revealed as a genius self-taught engineer and physicist who held no advanced college degrees yet held his own amon
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Someday, he says, somebody's gonna get bit.
So, this is the part where I confess that I have a weird, honestly morbid, obsession with the 2013 El Reno tornado. I'm not even a meteorologist or a storm chasers aficionado, it's just El Reno. It was a monster, in every senses of the word, an anomaly which thankfully stopped before it reached Oklahoma City and the gridlock of people trying to run away. Chilling.

Good news is, the journalist who wrote The Man Who Caught The Storm developed the same
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
SCPL Online NonFi...: Storm Chasing vs. Family 2 4 Oct 30, 2018 12:52PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Everything Wrong (and a few things right) with Twister 4 6 Oct 30, 2018 10:55AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: The Real Deal 5 7 Oct 30, 2018 08:15AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Natural Disasters and the Human Response 6 6 Oct 23, 2018 11:23AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: First Thoughts 7 9 Oct 18, 2018 11:52AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Introduction 1 7 Oct 02, 2018 09:26AM  
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“His face ends up on a 1992 cover of the local alt weekly Westword, which contains profiles of him and a few other Denver storm geeks. “Some call it a hobby, some call it an addiction,” Tim tells the reporter. “I think it’s more of an obsession with me.” 1 likes
“They’re in the presence of the beast now, an enormous incisor sunk into the horizon.” 1 likes
More quotes…