The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900

Al Roker. Morrow, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-236465-4
In this chronological account, TV meteorologist Roker revisits the “worst natural disaster of any kind, ever to hit the United States”: the category-four hurricane that pounded Galveston, Tex., on Sept. 8, 1900. The storm killed more than 10,000 people, caused nearly $20 million in damages ($700 million in 2015 dollars), and left “a great city reduced overnight to miles of rubble.” Roker introduces readers to such local figures as Galveston’s chief meteorologist, Isaac Cline, “a nationally recognized weather expert” who nevertheless failed to prepare the city for disaster; Annie and Ed McCullough, newlyweds whose home “lay two short blocks from the gulf beach”; and police chief Edwin N. Ketchum, a “proud Yankee veteran” who hosted popular annual picnics. He sets the stage for the drama with a comprehensive, but accessible history of Galveston, at the time “Texas’s greatest metropolis” and “one of the world’s greatest ports.” However, readers are left in the dark as to why Roker decided to retell this story now, and whatever resonances may exist with more recent events are left implied, rather than explored explicitly. Without more context or connection, readers will be left wondering what Roker’s goal might be. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/15/2015
Release date: 08/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5046-2550-0
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-06-239302-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-239563-4
Paperback - 328 pages - 978-0-06-236466-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5046-2551-7
Ebook - 328 pages - 978-0-06-236467-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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