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Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
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April 2019: History > Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in American History--4 stars

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Shelly | 512 comments The hurricane of 1900 destroyed Galveston TX and killed about 8,000 people. This is the history of the failures that culminated in the loss of so many lives.

Meteorology was in its infancy (or maybe its early childhood) and the US Weather Bureau was a new government entity struggling to prove its worth. Certainly that set the stage for not seeing this monster storm coming. But Larson blames the "hubris" of man, an unwillingness to accept that Mother Nature cannot be controlled! Galveston was competing with Houston to be the biggest port on the Gulf and they refused to even suggest that a hurricane was a possibility. Combine that with the limited ability to see the storm coming, and the stage was set for the greatest disaster in American history.

Larson does a nice job of presenting the events before during and after the storm from a variety of viewpoints. The primary one is Isaac Cline, the meteorologist assigned to Galveston by the US Weather Bureau. Neighbors, colleagues, and various people traveling to Galveston all become part of the narrative. Larson also makes it very clear when he makes assumptions where there are gaps in the records.

Of course one cannot help but wonder if we have learned enough from this disaster. Galveston has been rebuilt and development in coastal areas has surged. Katrina, Harvey, Maria.... there will be others! Yes we have the technology to see the storms coming and the loss of lives is far less, but should we keep rebuilding when the risks of another super storm keep growing.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7097 comments I read this a few years back and enjoyed it-glad you liked it too


Booknblues | 5292 comments I loved this book and it introduced me to Larson whose books I have enjoyed.


LibraryCin | 8007 comments Loved this one! It has been my favourite by Larson!


Ellen | 2045 comments Count me among the fans of this book and of Larson in general!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

This sounds like a good book. I completely agree with your last paragraph. Have we learned from any disaster? The loss of lives is far less than before but the loss of property, roads, etc doesn't really get any better. I have questioned this so many times.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5526 comments Loved this book ... and have been a Larson fan since I read it. Hubby and I vacationed in Galveston in December. An interesting historic island city.


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