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Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In 1934, hundreds of jobless World War I veterans were sent to the remote Florida Keys to build a highway from Miami to Key West. The Roosevelt Administration was making a genuine effort to help these down-and-out vets, many of whom suffered from what is known today as post-traumatic stress disorder. But the attempt to help them turned into a tragedy. The supervisors in ch ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Lyons Press (first published August 1st 2002)
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Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow - what a read! I felt like I was right there looking at the aftermath. I felt people's sorrow and anguish. What a tragedy! This is an awesome recounting told in such accurate and chilling detail.

*I received a complimentary ARC of this book in order to read and provide a voluntary, unbiased and honest review, should I choose to do so.

#StormoftheCenturylabordayhurricane1935 #NetGalley
Michael D.  Alligood
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: onmyshelf
Very well researched book and nicely written. I will say that having a list of characters (persons) would have greatly benefited the narrative as there are a lot of names to follow and keep up with. But the author does a great job keeping you on pace with the pre and post game analysis of the worst hurricane in history to strike the US coast.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I grew up in South Florida. Trips to "The Keys” were a joy. I remember fishing from the old 7-mile highway bridge, built on the original railroad bridge after the hurricane destroyed the railroad. I also went through several hurricanes. But even then, the Hurricane of 1935 was seen as cataclysmic. I sought to read first-hand details about that event. But envisioning it was a horror.

Storm Features at Landfall
• The storm surge reached 19 feet. (The sea level at the Upper and Middle Keys was 5-7 f
Tim Schneider
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know from hurricanes. Blizzards...sure. Earthquakes...yeah, we get the odd one. Volcanoes...well I live in a lava field, not that we've had one recently. But hurricanes are something that happen on the other side of the continent. But I was intrigued by this book and I wasn't disappointed.

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 (this was before they were named) was probably the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. It's the one that they mention in the movie Key Largo. It had maximum sustained wi
Stephanie Lopez
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
My opinion of this story may be biased since I live on the coast and have lived through hurricanes, including Hurricane Alicia, and more recently, Hurricane Ike and Harvey. But, as someone who was born in Galveston, Texas, and who still lives on the Texas gulf coast, I enjoy picking up a book about hurricanes that have hit the coastlines all around America. The hardest part of reading books about devastating events is reading about the aftermath and learning how many people lost their lives. Thi ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read short accounts of this hurricane over the years, but it's the first whole book I've found devoted to it. tragic story all round. Being from Ohio, I never really give to much thought to hurricanes (other than the large ones that pass over us and dump torrential rain) It didn't exactly surprise me that the government didn't take blame for this event and the loss of life, it never does. But that the whole grave situation of the deceased should still be ongoing in the 21st century is jus ...more
Dale Dewitt
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book it was one of the best books about hurricanes that I have read. I did feel that after the hurricane the author took too much time explaining the congressional investigations that followed with really no outcome other than to say that the government swept it under the rug but I felt that there were some corollaries between the 1935 hurricane and Katrina. I also love the focus on the keys recovery after the hurricane and the impacts That hurricane still have on the keys ...more
Lisa Konet
Holy cannoli! This actually happened and during war time. This shocked me to the core in some parts, but this was also before more accurate forecasting for hurricanes and other weather. These men really suffered and I felt like I was there with them through all the horror. Highly recommended if you like weather related events that are a part of history.

Thanks to Netgalley, Willie Drye and Lyons Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Already available: 8/1/19
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the tragic story of how two ignorant men indirectly caused the deaths of over 400 people including over 300 veterans from WWI. Then politics created a massive coverup so that none of the guilty were ever officially even blamed, much less charged. It also gives a sobering account of the true power of these storms from the ground level.
Jacqui H. Travis
Excellent historical depiction of the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, that devastated the Florida Keys, but written in the style of a good suspense novel. A real page-turner... was hard to put it down once I started reading it.
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this as a e book for my i pad from net galley. I enjoyed reading it. It is a book about a storm that happened in the us. It is my first book read by this author. I hope to read more books by this author.
Ron Bergquist
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
p. 296 - "One day, unfortunately, that debt will come due." ...more
Norma Dulac
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written account of the events leading up to the hurricane and the effects of bureaucracy's decisions on the people in the path of destruction. ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed and accurate account based on the same data seen in the Museum of History in Islamorada.
Mary Shafer
Excellent, comprehensive and informative documentary treatment of the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, one of just three Category 5 storms to make landfall in the US to date, since such records have been kept. Along with great weather data made accessible to the lay reader, this book also reveals the story of the "Conchs," Key West's inhabitants and fishermen's families who knew something bad was coming; and of course, the terrible tragedy that struck the camps full of WWI veterans who had been ship ...more
This is an excellent account of the most powerful hurricane to have hit the United States. This was one monster storm, awing even the long-time FL residents who had lived through previous bad storms. The author does a nice job of setting the scene by introducing the characters and recounting what they did to prepare for the storm.

The description of the storm itself and its aftermath are especially vivid and riveting. We're talking wind speeds around 150 to 200 mph, strong enough to lift grown m
Harold Crowder
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When In Doubt, Get Out!

Mother Nature and Human Nature ARE Unpredictable, waiting could very easily make for a very bad outcome.

Then, there's Murphy's Law:"If something can go wrong, it will.” An addition to this law reads, “and usually at the worst time.”

And then, there's the finger-pointing, second-guessing, scapegoating and cover-up!

WHAT a tragedy! Unfortunately, despite all our technological advances, we're not much better off at understanding the phenomenon of "bombing out" today then we wer
AMAZING!!! I am a big fan of hurricane books. This is in my top 2. This was a tragic and powerful event in Florida history. I am a Florida native and have been to the Keys many times. I also have been through the eye of 4 hurricanes in my life. (Andrew, Francis, Jean, Wilma) I can only imagine what a Category 5 hurricane would do to the Keys, but this book covers it perfectly and makes one heck of an amazing book. The tragedy, politics and intense storm set the stage for a story that reads like ...more
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book details the category 5 hurricane that took a devastating toll on the Florida Keys in 1935. Being a frequent visitor to the Keys, I was able to identify with many of the places in the storm's path and once again realize what a fragile chain of islands make up that area. All in all, it is a compelling read. ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Ideally, I would say this book is a 4 1/2 star book but I am giving it the benefit of 5 stars since I can't do that. I love books about natural disasters and this one was very well researched. It is an exiting read and very hard to put down. ...more
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to like storm porn. This falls in that genre. It does a good job of following those impacted by the storm and the history of the storm. The first few chapters are hard to sort through, but once the storm moves in, it draws you along nicely.

Mark Rast
Odd and underrated, but very interesting.
Richard Boyett
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Five star read all the way but being a Floridian I'm prejudiced. I have experienced my share of hurricanes and the only one that was fun I wasn't old enough to know better.
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating account of the strongest hurricane to ever hit the United States.
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, well researched and an incredible story of errors compounded upon each other in the face of a killer hurricane.
Michael Bielke
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Jun 10, 2020
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Willie Drye has been chasing stories for more than 30 years and has written about everything from urban planning to wedding planning for magazines and newspapers across the US and Canada. His work has been published in the Washington Post, Toronto Globe and Mail, and other regional and national publications.

Drye is a contributing editor for National Geographic News and has written about hurricanes

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