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3 Remote Warehouse US History- 20th Century

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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

TELEGRAM

Washington, D.C.

Sept. 9, 1900

To: Manager, Western Union

Houston, Texas

Do you hear anything about Galveston?

        

Willis L. Moore,

        

Chief, U.S. Weather Bureau

The Beach

September 8, 1900

Throughout the night of Friday, September 7, 1900, Isaac Monroe Cline found himself waking to a persistent sense of something gone wrong. It was the kind of feeling parents often experienced and one that no doubt had come to him when each of his three daughters was a baby. Each would cry, of course, and often for astounding lengths of time, tearing a seam not just through the Cline house but also, in that day of open windows and unlocked doors, through the dew-sequined peace of his entire neighborhood. On some nights, however, the children cried only long enough to wake him, and he would lie there heart-struck, wondering what had brought him back to the world at such an unaccustomed hour. Tonight that feeling returned.

        

Most other nights, Isaac slept soundly. He was a creature of the last turning of the centuries when sleep seemed to come more easily. Things were clear to him. He was loyal, a believer in dignity, honor, and effort. He taught Sunday school. He paid cash, a fact noted in a directory published by the Giles Mercantile Agency and meant to be held in strictest confidence. The small red book fit into a vest pocket and listed nearly all Galveston's established citizens--its police officers, bankers, waiters, clerics, tobacconists, undertakers, tycoons, and shipping agents--and rated them for credit-worthiness, basing this appraisal on secret reports filed anonymously by friends and enemies. An asterisk beside a name meant trouble, "Inquire at Office," and marred the fiscal reputations of such people as Joe Amando, tamale vendor; Noah Allen, attorney; Ida Cherry, widow; and August Rollfing, housepainter. Isaac Cline got the highest rating, a "B," for "Pays Well, Worthy of Credit." In November of 1893, two years after Isaac arrived in Galveston to open the Texas Section of the new U.S. Weather Bureau, a government inspector wrote: "I suppose there is not a man in the Service on Station Duty who does more real work than he. . . . He takes a remarkable degree of interest in his work, and has a great pride in making his station one of the best and most important in the country, as it is now."

        

Upon first meeting Isaac, men found him to be modest and self-effacing, but those who came to know him well saw a hardness and confidence that verged on conceit. A New Orleans photographer captured this aspect in a photograph that is so good, with so much attention to the geometries of composition and light, it could be a portrait in oil. The background is black; Isaac's suit is black. His shirt is the color of bleached bone. He has a mustache and goatee and wears a straw hat, not the rigid cake-plate variety, but one with a sweeping scimitar brim that imparts to him the look of a French painter or riverboat gambler. A darkness suffuses the photograph. The brim shadows the top of his face. His eyes gleam from the darkness. Most striking is the careful positioning of his hands. His right rests in his lap, gripping what could be a pair of gloves. His left is positioned in midair so that the diamond on his pinkie sparks with the intensity of a star.

        

There is a secret embedded in this photograph. For now, however, suffice it to say the portrait suggests vanity, that Isaac was aware of himself and how he moved through the day, and saw himself as something bigger than a mere recorder of rainfall and temperature. He was a scientist, not some farmer who gauged the weather by aches in a rheumatoid knee. Isaac personally had encountered and explained some of the strangest atmospheric phenomena a weatherman could ever hope to experience, but also had read the works of the most celebrated meteorologists and physical geographers of the nineteenth century, men like Henry Piddington, Matthew Fontaine Maury, William Redfield, and James Espy, and he had followed their celebrated hunt for the Law of Storms. He believed deeply that he understood it all.

        

He lived in a big time, astride the changing centuries. The frontier was still a living, vivid thing, with Buffalo Bill Cody touring his Wild West Show to sellout crowds around the globe, Bat Masterson a sportswriter in New Jersey, and Frank James opening the family ranch for tours at fifty cents a head. But a new America was emerging, one with big and global aspirations. Teddy Roosevelt, flanked by his Rough Riders, campaigned for the vice presidency. U.S. warships steamed to quell the Boxers. There was fabulous talk of a great American-built canal that would link the Atlantic to the Pacific, a task at which Vicomte de Lesseps and the French had so catastrophically failed. The nation in 1900 was swollen with pride and technological confidence. It was a time, wrote Sen. Chauncey Depew, one of the most prominent politicians of the age, when the average American felt "four-hundred-percent bigger" than the year before.

        

There was talk even of controlling the weather--of subduing hail with cannon blasts and igniting forest fires to bring rain.

        

In this new age, nature itself seemed no great obstacle.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

US

Synopsis:

Riveting, powerful, and unbearably suspenseful, "Isaac's Storm" is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the great uncontrollable force of nature. Abridged. 5 CDs.

About the Author

Erik Larson lives in Seattle with his wife, three daughters, a Chinese fighting fish, a dwarf hamster, and a golden retriever named Molly.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780739340363
Author:
Larson, Erik
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Read by:
Herrmann, Edward
Read:
Herrmann, Edward
Author:
Herrmann, Edward
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1900-1945)
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Five CD
Abridged:
Y
Publication Date:
20060831
Binding:
COMPACT DISC
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Dimensions:
6.25 x 5.45 x 1 in 0.4 lb
Media Run Time:
360

Related Subjects

Audio Books » Nonfiction
Audio Books » World Affairs
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History New Compact Disc
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Product details pages Random House Audio Assets - English 9780739340363 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , Riveting, powerful, and unbearably suspenseful, "Isaac's Storm" is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the great uncontrollable force of nature. Abridged. 5 CDs.
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