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The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche

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The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche Cover

ISBN13: 9780805077056
ISBN10: 0805077057
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

You think you've got it bad trudging uphill in the snow every day to work and back? Just imagine you're stuck inside one of two trains trapped in the Cascade Mountains during a catastrophic blizzard... and then an avalanche hits! The only thing more astonishing than this little-known true incident that occurred in 1910 is Krist's spellbinding book about it. Just when you think you've read the most horrific, jaw-dropping, and intense page you'll ever lay eyes upon, you turn the page... and somehow it gets worse! A definite must-read for lovers of true disaster stories.
Recommended by Hank, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The never-before-told story of one of the worst rail disasters in U.S. history in which two trains full of people, trapped high in the Cascade Mountains, are hit by a devastating avalanche.

In February 1910, a monstrous blizzard centered on Washington State hit the Northwest, breaking records. The world stopped — but nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation evolved minute by minute: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned without escape, their railcars gradually being buried in the rising drifts. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroad's most dedicated men — led by the line's legendarily courageous superintendent, James O'Neill — worked round-the-clock to rescue the trains. But the storm was unrelenting, and to the passenger's great anxiety, the railcars — only shelter — were parked precariously on the edge of a steep ravine. As the days passed, food and coal supplies dwindled. Panic and rage set in as snow accumulated deeper and deeper on the cliffs overhanging the trains. Finally, just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurred: the earth shifted and a colossal avalanche tumbled from the high pinnacles, sweeping the trains and their sleeping passengers over the steep slope and down the mountainside.

Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nation's deadliest avalanche, The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a supremely dramatic and never-before-documented American tragedy. An adventure saga filled with colorful and engaging history, this is epic narrative storytelling at its finest.

Review:

"In a briskly paced and vividly written account, novelist Krist (Bad Chemistry) relates the tale of two trains, trapped on the tracks in Washington's Cascade Mountains in February 1910, that were subsequently swept away by the deadliest avalanche in American history. With a wealth of end notes attesting to the scope of his research, Krist complements his thorough recreation of events with telegrams, journal entries and newspaper clippings. He also does an elegant job of evoking the hubris that led to the crisis, the claustrophobia and panic of those who endured it and the misery of those left to deal with its aftermath, from the devastated relatives to the Great Northern Railway officials whose trains, Krist writes, were supposed to be 'the ultimate symbols of twentieth-century America's new mastery over its own geography and climate.' The tragedy gains resonance from Krist's avoidance of hyperbole, as he chooses instead to draw out the emotional toll by focusing on individual stories like that of Ida Starrett, who was the last person to be rescued but who was trapped in the snow atop her own dying baby. As a novelist, he also displays a keen sense for the telling of the story itself and the importance of balancing detail with pace." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'The Wellington Disaster was not ... the "Avalanche That Changed America,"' Gary Krist concedes with appealing frankness near the end of his book about America's deadliest avalanche. After all, 'only' 96 passengers and crew died in the 1910 slide that descended on two snowbound trains in Washington's Cascade Mountains. In his first foray into nonfiction, novelist and short story writer Krist proves... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Krist's story goes beyond the recounting of a tragic event and becomes a study of individual heroism and failure, corporate avarice and the era's misguided faith that humans and their technology could tame Mother Nature." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Krist has avoided using any invented dialogue or other undocumented re-creations. The book is an astonishingly rich chronicle of this catastrophe." Booklist

Review:

"The White Cascade brilliantly recreates one of those terrifying moments when human ingenuity runs up against the fierce power of nature. Gary Krist doesn't simply describe the Great Northern Railway Disaster. He takes you up the mountainside, settles you into the trapped Pullman car, and makes you feel the fear closing in around you. That's storytelling at its finest." Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

Review:

"It is always a great gift when someone tells a long forgotten story, but it is especially so when the drama is this astonishing, and the writer this talented. Gary Krist weaves a spider web of a tale, drawing the reader in, until they feel as though they too are...trapped in one of the world's most dangerous places, in one of history's most savage storms. The White Cascade will keep you up at night." Susan Casey, author of The Devil's Teeth

Synopsis:

The never-before-told story of one of the worst rail disasters in U.S. history in which two trains full of people, trapped high in the Cascade Mountains, are hit by a devastating avalanche

In February 1910, a monstrous blizzard centered on Washington State hit the Northwest, breaking records. The world stopped--but nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation evolved minute by minute: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned without escape, their railcars gradually being buried in the rising drifts. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroad's most dedicated men--led by the line's legendarily courageous superintendent, James O'Neill--worked round-the-clock to rescue the trains. But the storm was unrelenting, and to the passenger's great anxiety, the railcars--their only shelter--were parked precariously on the edge of a steep ravine. As the days passed, food and coal supplies dwindled. Panic and rage set in as snow accumulated deeper and deeper on the cliffs overhanging the trains. Finally, just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurred: the earth shifted and a colossal avalanche tumbled from the high pinnacles, sweeping the trains and their sleeping passengers over the steep slope and down the mountainside.

Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nation's deadliest avalanche, The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a supremely dramatic and never-before-documented American tragedy. An adventure saga filled with colorful and engaging history, this is epic narrative storytelling at its finest.

Synopsis:

"Krist does wonders . . . [He] describes the frantic rescue efforts . . . and the malevolent, unending storm. In a thrilling, climactic chapter, he conjures forth the avalanche."--The New York Times
 
In February 1910, a monstrous, record-breaking blizzard hit the Northwest. Nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation evolved: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroad's most dedicated men worked to rescue the trains, but just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurred--a colossal avalanche tumbled down, sweeping the trains over the steep slope and down the mountainside. Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nation's deadliest avalanche, The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a never-before-documented tragedy.

About the Author

Gary Krist is the prizewinning author of the novels Bad Chemistry, Chaos Theory, and Extravagance, and of two short-story collections, The Garden State and Bone by Bone. His stories, articles, and travel pieces have been featured in noteworthy magazines, including National Geographic Traveler, GQ, and Esquire. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife and daughter.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

whitehs2, February 7, 2007 (view all comments by whitehs2)
White Cascade is a non-fiction book with all the suspense, action, and drama of a novel.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(26 of 53 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805077056
Subtitle:
The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche
Author:
Krist, Gary
Publisher:
Holt Paperbacks
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
Railroads - History
Subject:
Avalanches
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Pacific Northwest
Subject:
General History
Subject:
History
Subject:
Avalanches - Washington (State) - History -
Subject:
Railroad accidents -- Washington (State)
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20080122
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 8-pg bandw insert
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.375 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Washington » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » Mountaineering » Literature
Transportation » Railroads » General
Transportation » Railroads » Pacific Northwest

The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805077056 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

You think you've got it bad trudging uphill in the snow every day to work and back? Just imagine you're stuck inside one of two trains trapped in the Cascade Mountains during a catastrophic blizzard... and then an avalanche hits! The only thing more astonishing than this little-known true incident that occurred in 1910 is Krist's spellbinding book about it. Just when you think you've read the most horrific, jaw-dropping, and intense page you'll ever lay eyes upon, you turn the page... and somehow it gets worse! A definite must-read for lovers of true disaster stories.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In a briskly paced and vividly written account, novelist Krist (Bad Chemistry) relates the tale of two trains, trapped on the tracks in Washington's Cascade Mountains in February 1910, that were subsequently swept away by the deadliest avalanche in American history. With a wealth of end notes attesting to the scope of his research, Krist complements his thorough recreation of events with telegrams, journal entries and newspaper clippings. He also does an elegant job of evoking the hubris that led to the crisis, the claustrophobia and panic of those who endured it and the misery of those left to deal with its aftermath, from the devastated relatives to the Great Northern Railway officials whose trains, Krist writes, were supposed to be 'the ultimate symbols of twentieth-century America's new mastery over its own geography and climate.' The tragedy gains resonance from Krist's avoidance of hyperbole, as he chooses instead to draw out the emotional toll by focusing on individual stories like that of Ida Starrett, who was the last person to be rescued but who was trapped in the snow atop her own dying baby. As a novelist, he also displays a keen sense for the telling of the story itself and the importance of balancing detail with pace." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Krist's story goes beyond the recounting of a tragic event and becomes a study of individual heroism and failure, corporate avarice and the era's misguided faith that humans and their technology could tame Mother Nature."
"Review" by , "Krist has avoided using any invented dialogue or other undocumented re-creations. The book is an astonishingly rich chronicle of this catastrophe."
"Review" by , "The White Cascade brilliantly recreates one of those terrifying moments when human ingenuity runs up against the fierce power of nature. Gary Krist doesn't simply describe the Great Northern Railway Disaster. He takes you up the mountainside, settles you into the trapped Pullman car, and makes you feel the fear closing in around you. That's storytelling at its finest."
"Review" by , "It is always a great gift when someone tells a long forgotten story, but it is especially so when the drama is this astonishing, and the writer this talented. Gary Krist weaves a spider web of a tale, drawing the reader in, until they feel as though they too are...trapped in one of the world's most dangerous places, in one of history's most savage storms. The White Cascade will keep you up at night."
"Synopsis" by ,
The never-before-told story of one of the worst rail disasters in U.S. history in which two trains full of people, trapped high in the Cascade Mountains, are hit by a devastating avalanche

In February 1910, a monstrous blizzard centered on Washington State hit the Northwest, breaking records. The world stopped--but nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation evolved minute by minute: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned without escape, their railcars gradually being buried in the rising drifts. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroad's most dedicated men--led by the line's legendarily courageous superintendent, James O'Neill--worked round-the-clock to rescue the trains. But the storm was unrelenting, and to the passenger's great anxiety, the railcars--their only shelter--were parked precariously on the edge of a steep ravine. As the days passed, food and coal supplies dwindled. Panic and rage set in as snow accumulated deeper and deeper on the cliffs overhanging the trains. Finally, just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurred: the earth shifted and a colossal avalanche tumbled from the high pinnacles, sweeping the trains and their sleeping passengers over the steep slope and down the mountainside.

Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nation's deadliest avalanche, The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a supremely dramatic and never-before-documented American tragedy. An adventure saga filled with colorful and engaging history, this is epic narrative storytelling at its finest.

"Synopsis" by ,
"Krist does wonders . . . [He] describes the frantic rescue efforts . . . and the malevolent, unending storm. In a thrilling, climactic chapter, he conjures forth the avalanche."--The New York Times
 
In February 1910, a monstrous, record-breaking blizzard hit the Northwest. Nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation evolved: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroad's most dedicated men worked to rescue the trains, but just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurred--a colossal avalanche tumbled down, sweeping the trains over the steep slope and down the mountainside. Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nation's deadliest avalanche, The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a never-before-documented tragedy.
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