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F-5: Devastating, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the Twentieth Century

by

F-5: Devastating, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the Twentieth Century Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It was April 3, 1974. Crime was soaring. Unemployment and inflation were out of control. A costly war had just come to its demoralizing end, and an unpopular President was on his way out of office. Then, over a sixteen-hour period, nature stepped forward with its own display of mayhem: an unprecendented outbreak of 148 tornadoes, covering thirteen states in the heart of the country, from Michigan to Mississippi. Hundreds of people were killed, thousands of homes demolished, and a billion dollars in losses sustained. Sixty-four of the tornadoes would be classified as severely violent; six belonged to the most rare, most deadly category: F5, or "incredible tornadoes."

Like the best nonfiction, F5 is a brilliantly crafted page-turner that reads with the immediacy of a novel, telling a harrowing story of natural disaster against the backdrop of the turbulent 1970s. Acclaimed journalist Mark Levine follows the heart-wrenching fate of a rich cast of intertwined characters — ordinary Americans whose lives are transformed in a terrifying instant. A pair of teenage lovers are caught while driving on a dark country road; a Vietnam veteran is trapped at home with a newborn baby; a sheriff finds himself in the line of fire twice in rapid succession; a black preacher with a past of dire hardship struggles to protect his family.

Other figures enter the story from the broader cultural scene, including Hank Aaron, on his way to challenging baseball's home run record amid racist death threats; Patty Hearst, whose image as kidnappng victim is undergoing a radical shift; Richard Nixon and George wallace, both intent on using the storms to their political advantage; and a memorably eccentric scientist, known as Mr. Tornado, who regards the "Superoutbreak" as the apotheosis of his scholarly life. Gripping and revelatory, F5 braids the story of the shattering outbreak with images of social upheaval and individual heroism in a stunning, unforgettable read.

Review:

"On April 3, 1974, a megastorm rampaged through the central U.S., unleashing at least 148 tornados, six of which attained the rare and overpowering 'F5' category, with sustained winds of over 260 miles per hour. The storm killed hundreds and caused billions of dollars in property damage. Levine, a contributor to the New York Times, focuses on the impact in the rural county of Limestone, Ala., where dozens of tornados cut a ruinous swath across the land. A thorough journalist and accomplished stylist, Levine does an excellent job of putting us in the minds of the area natives — a high school freshman, the local sheriff, a power lineman — whose lives were upended, and in some cases, ended by the storm. Levine also has the descriptive prowess to bring the tornados to vivid existence on the page. However, at times the sheer number of characters and scenes makes the narrative difficult to follow. Levine is also less than successful in his attempt to link the storm to a particular zeitgeist of 1974 America; whatever happened that day, its consequences didn't expose the country in any manner similar to what Hurricane Katrina left in its wake. Still, it's hard to fault a disaster story as engaging as this. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Earthquakes can happen anywhere. Floods and wildfires don't seem to play favorites among the countries they afflict. Even volcanoes, though mainly concentrated on the edges of continental plates, are scattered somewhat widely over the globe. But a full three-quarters of the world's recorded overland whirlwinds occur in a single country: the United States. For whatever reason, tornadoes — as Mark... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Levine...best known as a poet...turns the laconic detail, thorough compression and rhythmic nuance of his best verse to sensational use, producing a work of reportage so artfully structured and emotionally moving that it looks pretty good next to In Cold Blood." The New York Times

Review:

"In a sweeping and thoroughly engaging narrative, Mark Levine reminds us that extreme weather has always been with us, and has always had an impact that reaches well beyond the lives it shatters directly. F5 reads like a novel, but is a masterpiece of careful reporting." Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

Review:

"Mark Levine's F5 reads like tornado: powerful, riveting, and violently beautiful. Once the storm starts there is no chance of putting the book down. This is not just the story of explosive weather, but of one of the most explosive times in our history." Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

Review:

"Mark Levine has written a compelling meditation on those moments in which the atmosphere clothes itself in uncanny potency and visits the abodes of men." Marilynn Robinson, author of Gilead: A Novel

Synopsis:

Acclaimed journalist Levine has crafted a page-turner that reads with the immediacy of a novel, telling a harrowing story of natural disaster against the backdrop of the turbulent 1970s.

About the Author

Mark Levine is an award-winning magazine writer who has contributed to the New Yorker, Outside, and Men's Journal among others and whose work has been included in The Best American Magazine Writing, The Best American Sports Writing, and The Best American Poetry. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine and he teaches poetry at the Iowa Writers Workshop. Author of three books of poetry, he lives in Brooklyn and Iowa.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781401352202
Author:
Levine, Mark
Publisher:
Miramax Books
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Subject:
Tornadoes - Alabama - Limestone County -
Subject:
Tornadoes - Middle West - History -
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in 22.32 oz
Age Level:
13-22

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Geography » Meteorology
Reference » Science Reference » Meterorology
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

F-5: Devastating, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the Twentieth Century Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.75 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Miramax Books - English 9781401352202 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "On April 3, 1974, a megastorm rampaged through the central U.S., unleashing at least 148 tornados, six of which attained the rare and overpowering 'F5' category, with sustained winds of over 260 miles per hour. The storm killed hundreds and caused billions of dollars in property damage. Levine, a contributor to the New York Times, focuses on the impact in the rural county of Limestone, Ala., where dozens of tornados cut a ruinous swath across the land. A thorough journalist and accomplished stylist, Levine does an excellent job of putting us in the minds of the area natives — a high school freshman, the local sheriff, a power lineman — whose lives were upended, and in some cases, ended by the storm. Levine also has the descriptive prowess to bring the tornados to vivid existence on the page. However, at times the sheer number of characters and scenes makes the narrative difficult to follow. Levine is also less than successful in his attempt to link the storm to a particular zeitgeist of 1974 America; whatever happened that day, its consequences didn't expose the country in any manner similar to what Hurricane Katrina left in its wake. Still, it's hard to fault a disaster story as engaging as this. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Levine...best known as a poet...turns the laconic detail, thorough compression and rhythmic nuance of his best verse to sensational use, producing a work of reportage so artfully structured and emotionally moving that it looks pretty good next to In Cold Blood."
"Review" by , "In a sweeping and thoroughly engaging narrative, Mark Levine reminds us that extreme weather has always been with us, and has always had an impact that reaches well beyond the lives it shatters directly. F5 reads like a novel, but is a masterpiece of careful reporting."
"Review" by , "Mark Levine's F5 reads like tornado: powerful, riveting, and violently beautiful. Once the storm starts there is no chance of putting the book down. This is not just the story of explosive weather, but of one of the most explosive times in our history."
"Review" by , "Mark Levine has written a compelling meditation on those moments in which the atmosphere clothes itself in uncanny potency and visits the abodes of men."
"Synopsis" by , Acclaimed journalist Levine has crafted a page-turner that reads with the immediacy of a novel, telling a harrowing story of natural disaster against the backdrop of the turbulent 1970s.
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