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

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Reading in his signature dispassionate style, narrator Edward Herrmann brings an eerie calm to this powerful chronicle of the deadliest storm ever to hit the United States--a huge and terribly...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Stirring Account Of A Terrible Disaster

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, presents a gripping and terrible account of the events leading up to the destruction on Galveston on the 8th of September 1900 by one of the deadliest hurricanes in America's history. Along the way the Larson provides details of man's efforts to predict and control the weather and the often-disastrous results when we got it wrong! The personal accounts offered in this book are often very touching and the human drama really gets you involved in the story. The narrative moves along like an action paced novel and you find yourself up in the early hours of the morning glued to the pages. I really didn't want this story to finish, it was a great account and the only fault I could find was a lack of photographs. On a number of occasions Larson refers to old black and white photographs that he had seen during his research for this book, it would have been nice to share these with his audience. Overall this is a great book and well worth the time to read.

An Eerie and Powerful description of a Natural Disaster

Are there other folks out there who enjoy reading true accounts of someone else's misfortune, especially if that misfortunate involves a titanic, unstoppable force of nature? A few, really good examples of this true-life disaster genre that I've read over the years are: "The Earth Shook - The Sky Burned" (San Francisco Earthquake)"; "The Coming Plague" (newly emerging diseases); "Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals" (doomed on Lake Superior, etc.); "Rats, Lice, and History" (a biography of typhus); and "Isaac's Storm" (the Galveston hurricane of 1900).Erik Larson's book on the deadliest hurricane in history has two main focal points: the hurricane itself; and the human drama of Isaac Cline, the Galveston meteorologist who failed to predict the intensity of the storm. The book meanders through occasional dry stretches of Isaac's pre-storm biography, and through the history of the U.S. Weather Bureau (they were interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the storm), but once it focuses on the events of September 8, 1900 and beyond, I wasn't able to set "Isaac's Storm" down. Especially compelling are the eerie descriptions of what it's like to sail through the eye of a hurricane, and of course the narrative (from the viewpoints of several survivors) of what it was like to be in Galveston before, during, and after the storm. If you are afraid of storms or of water, you might not want to read this book because Erik Larson puts you right there when the storm debris is caving in the side of your house, or when the "tide suddenly rises fully four feet at one bound".

Breakers of the heart

It is hard to explain the shear power of water and wind unless you have experienced it. This book is amazing with the descriptions, both scientific and emotional, of the human event of attempting to survive the storm. What is truly powerful is the heartache that was not written into the book. It didn't need to be. There are moments in the book where nothing is written and you are left to think. Those are the moments you look up from the book, stare out into the space in front of you, and you wonder if you would have done the same thing. I found my heart at a lost. I felt the grief. The book didn't describe it, but led you to it. What dumbfounded myself when I finished the book was that I chose to read it for purely scientific reasons and I found I read a real human drama. An excellent piece of work that will reach the hearts of all who read it.

I Loved It

I've been a meteorologist for 20 years. Trained by Dr Bill Gray, I've walked in the eye of three hurricanes and flown in they eye of one. One recent book interest has been adventure stories including THE PERFECT STORM, INTO THIN AIR, ENDURANCE, etc. I had shyed away from ISSAC'S STORM because I couldn't imagine what Larson could tell me I didn't already know about the 1900 disaster at Galveston. I shouldn't have waited. Even the most seasoned weather geek will learn from this book. Like Carl Sagan, Larson has a knack for putting complex concepts in layman terms. I took away new simple descriptions of tropical meteorological concepts. However, that is not the genius of this book. Erik Larson did a wonderful job piecing together thousands of bits of information and crafting it all into a gripping read. What's missing? Photographs. Like SHIP OF GOLD IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA, this book is screaming for a companion book of photos. Eric said he waded through over 4,000; 250 of the best would make a super addition to this treatise. Rick Taylor, vorticity@aol.com

an absolute page turner

I went in to work sleepy-eyed quite a few mornings because I'm a slow reader and did not want to put this one down. It's a very clever combination of distilled eye-witness accounts, scientific and historical fact, memoirs and conjecture. I did not find the lack of photographs to be a problem, because the author portrays images wonderfully with words. The narrative builds gradually, like a good suspense novel; in the end, the horror of the event is very much evident in the narrative and the memories of those who survived the hurricane of 1900. The story has essentially the same fascination as that of the Titanic. Disaster occurred, and much of it could have been averted had human beings behaved differently. The difference is that this story has not been told repeatedly and does not focus on prominent citizens of the nation. Isaac's Storm, in the right hands, would make a terrific movie. In many ways, this books succeeds in taking the reader back to the year 1900. History at its best.
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