cover image A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes

A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes

Eric Jay Dolin. Liveright, $29.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-631-49527-4

Historian Dolin (Black Flags, Blue Waters) delivers a fast-paced and informative history of American hurricanes from the 16th century through the 2017 season, when a record-setting three storms made landfall. Though Dolin’s question of “how we can learn to survive and adapt” to hurricanes in the era of climate change doesn’t receive deep analysis, the book successfully documents the impact of storms such as the 1900 Galveston Hurricane (in which an estimated 8,000–10,000 people died) and the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, which killed hundreds of WWI veterans building the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys. Milestones in the scientific understanding of hurricanes include Father Benito Viñes’s observational studies in 19th-century Cuba and the U.S. military’s “Hurricane Hunter” flights, which began in WWII and employed new radar technology to capture real-time data from inside storms; the information was eventually used to create computer models to predict hurricane behavior. Dolin also explains hurricane naming conventions and credits Dan Rather’s 1961 Hurricane Carla broadcasts, which showed radar images of the storm, with changing how they’re reported. Packed with intriguing miscellanea, this accessible chronicle serves as a worthy introduction to the subject. Readers will be awed by the power of these storms and the wherewithal of people to recover from them. Agent: Russell Galen, The Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (June)