Sunday, April 12, 2009

Book Review: Isaac's Storm

Isaac’s Storm is the second book I have read by the author Erik Larson, the first being the excellent The Devil in the White City. I was certainly not let down with this second book I recently purchased. This work, simply put, was a page-turner – a type of read that you definitely can’t put down until the whole work is finished. Isaac’s Storm tells the story of the deadliest hurricane to ever hit the United States – the 1900 Galveston storm in Texas.

For years I have been interested in this storm. In one of the Itawamba County family lines I have researched I came across the story of a young married man who left Itawamba County under dire circumstances. Shortly before 1900 he had stabbed his brother-in-law during a fight, and thinking the man dead, took flight from Itawamba County ending up in Galveston. Within a few months the deadly storm hit the booming town of Galveston with a vengeance and the young man was never heard from again. It is ironic that he had inflicted only a flesh wound on his brother-in-law.

Isaac’s Storm is a most horrific story of the great hurricane of September 8, 1900 that, according to some estimates, killed between 6,000 and 12,000 individuals. It is also the interesting story of Isaac Cline, the Galveston Weather Bureau section director born during 1864 in Monroe County, Tennessee.

The pages of the book gradually lead up to that fateful September event. It tells the gripping stories of various individuals and the toll the storm took on their lives. Vivid accounts of those who rode out the storm are interwoven into the story. The author has a stunning ability to describe another place and another time in the telling of this horrific story.

Isaac’s Storm most definitely was a superb read. It is one of those reads you find hard to put down until the last page is read. The book includes 37 pages of notes and sources.

Isaac's Storm (Paperback)by Erik Larson, 2000, Vintage Books (ISBN 0-375-70827-8), 336 pages.

Isaac's Storm website


1 comment:

Amy (WeTree) said...

I had the pleasure of cataloging post-1900 correspondence of Isaac Monroe Cline. It was so thrilling to hold his letters in my hands. After Galveston, he continued to work for the weather bureau. He worked out of New Orleans and was in charge of the "sugar and rice region" of SW Louisiana. Much of the correspondence deals with trying to get and keep weather observers for that area. Sounds dry, but it was very interesting reading and a personal/professional glimpse into the life of I.M. Cline. Thanks for the review.