Chris's Reviews > Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson
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's review
May 31, 2011

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Read in May, 2011

I enjoyed this book but since I read it after Devil in the White City you can't help but compare the two. This book suffers some; one from being an earlier book and two while you really get a feel for the style and format he would use successfully in later novel, it isn't as strong as a book. You we see the basic Larsen characteristics such as how he draws you into a real life story as if it's a novel, and he also displays a tremendous ability to create true to life descriptions and characters based on research, journal entries, and other sources such as biographies. In comparison to his later work it isn't as polished, which for an early book in your career is not a sin or even unexpected.

Even in comparison I enjoyed reading this, in fact as I read it, it was a beautiful summer day warm but not too hot. I read it sitting out on the deck immersed in the sweltering summer of 1900 that was Galveston and the rest of the United States. Sitting there reading about that summer in Galveston I found myself sweating and uncomfortable imaging myself in the pre air conditioned world that Larson painted.

While I think this books suffers in comparison to his later work, that is somewhat the fault of the characters as much as content. As a witness to a storm you at some point are at the mercy of events out of your control and are a passive character reacting versus driving the outcome. Compare this to the constant striving of the characters of Devil and the motivations that drove those characters you feel a distance and a passivity that removes you one step from the events unlike Devil where you felt as if those people were your neighbors and counterparts. That being said there is action, there are decisions that changed the outcome, and there is drama, I would say it is well written if a bit shorter than I would have liked.

Overall if you look only at this book and review it for itself, by itself, it is a good, quick, enjoyable, and informative read. Reading it I felt I knew more about weather than I ever thought I would care about and I felt I understand the history of Galveston and Houston like a native. My verdict? Recommended!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Carole (new)

Carole I'm definitely going to put this on my list of books to read. Thanks for the recommendation.

message 2: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Johnson In The Garden of Beasts is great!

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