Summer Reading Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson



Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$5.50
List price: $15.95
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
3 Beaverton Physics- Meteorology
1 Local Warehouse Science Reference- Meterorology

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

by

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

 

 

Excerpt

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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375708275
Author:
Larson, Erik
Author:
Cline, Isaac Monroe
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
Hurricanes
Subject:
Floods
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1900-1945)
Subject:
Galveston
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
Galveston (tex.)
Subject:
Galveston (Tex.) History 20th century.
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Series Volume:
104-887.
Publication Date:
20000731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 MAPS
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.31x4.85x.69 in. .53 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Against the Tide: The Battle for... Used Hardcover $4.95
  2. The Devil in the White City: Murder,...
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  3. A Clearing In the Distance:... Used Trade Paper $9.50
  4. The Devil in the White City: Murder,...
    Used Trade Paper $8.95
  5. Thunderstruck
    Used Trade Paper $5.50
  6. Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West Used Trade Paper $6.95

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Americana » Texas
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Science Reference » Meterorology
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375708275 Reviews:
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.