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

by

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

ISBN13: 9780805083293
ISBN10: 0805083294
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“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 Railroads most dedicated men worked to rescue the trains, but just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurreda colossal avalanche tumbled down, sweeping the trains over the steep slope and down the mountainside. Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nations deadliest avalanche, The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a never-before-documented tragedy.
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.
In February 1910, a record-breaking blizzard hit the Northwest United States. Nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation developed: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroads most dedicated men worked to rescue the trains.  Just when an escape seemed possible, the danger was renewed by a colossal avalanche that swept both trains over the steep slope and down the mountainside. The White Cascade is the first complete account of the nations deadliest avalanche.

"In his first foray into nonfiction, novelist and short story writer Krist proves that you don't need an epoch-altering eventa Katrina or a Dust Bowlto make an engrossing disaster narrative. In the hands of such a skilled and respectful writer, a week-long, late-winter snowstorm, stalled trains, and a cast of ordinary, unlucky people are more than enough to keep us turning pages . . . Krist's chapter on the aftermath of the avalanchethe blood-reddened snow, the ever-fainter cries for help, the heartbreak of a mother pinned on top of her slowly suffocating infantis utterly gripping, all the more so for his restrained style. Equally riveting is the courtroom drama that ensues as two juries and then the Washington State Supreme Court determined whether God or the railroad was to blame . . . readers will love his . . . many digressions into the challenges, dangers and arrogance of sending fast trains through untamed mountain passes. The Wellington avalanche, like all natural disasters, was compounded by human frailty. Perhaps the signal contribution of The White Cascade is how deeply and delicately Krist probes the moral complexities of this fatal combination.”David Laskin, The Washington Post

“Adopting a restrained, documentary tone, [Krist] slowly builds a picture of massing natural forces and helpless humanity, brought closer and closer to catastrophe with each tick of the clock. The pacing is expertly judged, and the potentially confusing narrative threads, involving multiple actors in scattered locations, are tied together neatly.”William Grimes, The New York Times

“What a wild-eyed, horrific, brilliantly written story Gary Krist tells in The White Cascade. You almost feel like youre a Great Northern Railway passenger in 1910, coping with the blizzard-from-hell. Jack London would be proud of this riveting nonfiction accomplishment.”Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Tulane University and author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

The White Cascade brilliantly recreates one of those terrifying moments when human ingenuity runs up against the fierce power of nature. Gary Krist doesnt 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.  Thats storytelling at its finest.”Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

“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 a passenger on Seattle 25, trapped in one of the worlds most dangerous places, in one of historys most savage storms. The White Cascade will keep you up at night, and not just from its unsettling endyou wont be able to put it down.”Susan Casey, author of The Devils Teeth

“In February 1910, a massive blizzard trapped two trainloads of passengers high in the Cascade Mountains. Crews from the Great Northern Railway worked around the clock to rescue the trains stranded on the edge of a precipice near Wellington, Washington. Then an avalanche half a mile wide descended from the pinnacles, forcing the trains and their passengers down the mountainside. Bodies were scattered all over the area, some buried as deep as 40 feet. The last body was found in July, 21 weeks after the avalanche. The lost passengers included business leaders, women, and children, but nearly two-thirds of the 96 fatalities were trainmen, railway mail clerks, and track laborers. Many others were injured and a few were unharmed. Krist's research includes documents such as telegrams and diaries, newspaper articles of the time, court affidavits, and corporate archives. To his credit, Krist has avoided using any invented dialogue or other undocumented re-creations. The book is an astonishingly rich chronicle of this catastrophe.”George Cohen, Booklist

“In 1910, two Great Northern Railway trains became trapped by snow slides in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. After several days of impasse, an avalanche hit the trains, taking nearly 100 lives. Using court testimony, diaries, letters, and other documents, journalist and novelist Krist describes in painstaking detail the turmoil of the trapped passengers and crew and the efforts of the railway to free them. He provides sufficient background history on the Great Northern's procedures and on snow conditions in the Cascades for the reader to understand the situation fully. Krist centers the story on the actions of indefatigable Cascade division superintendent James H. O'Neill, whose decisions, all based on his best railroad judgment, ultimately led to the tragedy. This real-life thriller compares well to Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm and is a gripping book to curl up with (though maybe not on a snowy winter's night).”Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania, Library Journal

“With thorough reporting and easy, readable prose . . . Novelist Krist turns to nonfiction for a familiar tale of Man-vs.-Nat

Synopsis:

Centered on the astonishing spectacle of Americas deadliest avalanche, "The White Cascade" is the masterfully told story of a never-before-documented tragedy.

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:

LM, November 18, 2009 (view all comments by LM)
A most readable, fascinating, nonfiction account of the deadliest avalanche in American history. You know the ending, of course, when you start the book; but Krist leads you up to and through the avalanche with such familiarity you feel like you know the people well, and my heart ached for them all. I love to read memoirs, true travel adventures and historical fiction, but I'm not an "academic" and sometimes historical accounts are too dry to keep me interested. No so The White Cascade. My grandmother came to the northwest from Poland in 1910 and I couldn't help but wonder how close her trip from New York to Washington took her to this deadly train trip. It's one of my gift books for several Washington friends this year.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805083293
Author:
Krist, Gary
Publisher:
Holt McDougal
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
Railroads - History
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Pacific Northwest
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Railroads - General
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20080131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 16-pg. insert; 2 maps
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.02 x 5.27 x 0.94 in

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Related Subjects

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

The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Holt Rinehart and Winston - English 9780805083293 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Centered on the astonishing spectacle of Americas deadliest avalanche, "The White Cascade" is the masterfully told story of a never-before-documented tragedy.
"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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