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Isaac's Storm | [Erik Larson]

Isaac's Storm

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau, failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over 6,000 people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history.
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Publisher's Summary

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau, failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over 6,000 people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history, and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devastating personal tragedy.

Using Cline's own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man's heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. 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.

©1999 Erik Larson; (P)1999 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Superb...Larson has made [Isaac] Cline, turn-of-the-century Galveston, and the Great Hurricane live again." (The Wall Stret Journal)
"A powerful story...a classic tale of mankind versus nature." (Christian Science Monitor)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (357 )
5 star
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4.1 (165 )
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4.3 (162 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Greg Mefford 09-16-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    "A wonderful listen"

    I've been requesting this book from Audible for three years and its finally here! It's a great story and a wonderful listen. I've both read the book and listened to this version a dozen times over. I actually put it on my iPod and drove through Galveston using it as a sort of guided tour.

    The narrator is excellent. Highly recommended as a chilling story about a family fued, the history of the National Weather Service and the Texas Gulf Coast, as well as one monster of a storm. The Daily News in Galveston has a good companion web site once you've finished the book. Good stuff!

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Morganville, NJ, USA 03-23-06
    David Morganville, NJ, USA 03-23-06
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    "Excellent"

    I picked this book because I loved Devil In The White City by Erik Larson and wanted his earlier work. Erik has a rare talent of making non-fiction read like fiction. This book is outstanding. AND to think how timely it is with the aftermath of Katrina and how politics got in the way of managing that disaster.

    I highly recommend this and Larson's other book if you haven't gotten that one yet.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CrazyBird 06-07-13
    CrazyBird 06-07-13

    I am a retired Histology Technician. My time is spent caring for my grandchildren, my dog, cat, and blue & gold macaw.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How to ruin a book in one easy step. Abridge it."

    This book in its unabridged form is a wonderful, informative and thrilling read. In the unabridged form I come to know the storm and its power just as if you are one of the people experiencing it. I was introduced to the US Weather Service while in its infancy and to Isaac, one of the services rising stars. Isaac becomes a flesh and blood person and Galveston a thriving port city alive with people and commerce . While reading the unabridged book I was carried away by the slow building winds and the surf until they become one of the most powerful storms in US history.
    In Audible' s abridged recording I missed so much of the heart of the story that I do not believe I heard the same book that I read. I do not recommend the abridged version of Isaac' s Storm because so much is lost in this cut version. You will be buying a book reduced to well below its lowest common denominator and simply miss what I feel is the essential life of the book and all that makes it an impressive read. I highly recommend this book in its unabridged, readable format and am truly sorry the Audible book is a mere shadow of the original book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Southold, NY, USA 09-21-08
    Judy Southold, NY, USA 09-21-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Please Read Before Your Next Hurricane Party"

    This is an well written, well paced account of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane that struck without warning and completely swamped the island city one September day. This audio version is abridged so some of the more gruesome, and pendantic, details were left out, but the story still provides a vivid recounting of harrowing experiences of the survivors of this spectacular disaster. A hurricane is nothing to celebrate, and Isaac's Storm tells you why. If you enjoy such survivor accounts against Mother Nature's fury, then you will enjoy this one, too.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta 11-30-12
    Roberta 11-30-12 Member Since 2008

    Vassar graduate, living in Mexico and retired.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator has a sing song childish voice"

    The Narrator uses needless sarcasm to emphasize subtle points which spoils the tone of the writing. I enjoyed this book inspite of the narration. In the future I will avoid books read by this person. I give it two stars for "tolerable".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G-Man 01-10-12
    G-Man 01-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "They didn't see it coming. Except one. Sort of."
    What did you like best about this story?

    Non-fiction Drama: a random pick for me that I enjoyed. I had never heard this story before. It goes into details of the early U.S. weather service, its failings and how egos got in the way of predicting a colossal hurricane in Galveston. The focus is on one individual who worked for the service but was not heard in time. The description of the hurricane is the best part. The tale has a long lead-in that seems very well researched and fleshes out the life and time of Isaac Cline. Knowing ahead of time what is going to happen kept me interested. I like a true a story more than one made-up.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Fayetteville, NC, USA 08-14-09
    Joseph Fayetteville, NC, USA 08-14-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Fascinating Story"

    Erik Larson is the next David McCullough! Loved The Devil in The White City and Isaac's Storm did not disappoint. I was vaguely familiar with the Galveston Hurricane and this book makes me want to read more about it. A thoroughly entertaining and informative listen. Highly recommend it. Thunderstruck is next on my list.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johannes SibrandabuorrenNetherlands 02-18-09
    Johannes SibrandabuorrenNetherlands 02-18-09 Member Since 2012
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    "extraordinary"

    I liked the Devil and the White City a lot and this one is even better. Although the story is less gruesome in some ways, it's still a chilling acount of what happened to Galveston. It's a good and excellent read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karl Washington, DC, USA 08-26-06
    Karl Washington, DC, USA 08-26-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Historical, accurate, detailed, surreal"

    The story is what you would expect – a calamity of terrible proportions. The author clearly did all the necessary homework and digging to get as much material as possible. The result is a complete start to finish story of everything that happened during this terrible event.

    There isn’t a whole lot of really deep character development, though there is an attempt to get you sucked into the life of the weather forecaster and his family. I didn’t really buy into that in the end. The book stands on it’s own as a very complete history. It is not a novel, but it is extremely interesting, and of curse, sad.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Oshawa, ON, Canada 05-26-06
    John Oshawa, ON, Canada 05-26-06
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    "Good overall"

    I was a little disappointed towards the end but overall it was worth the read. If nothing else it shows how recently in history we didn't know what was going on! (Do we now?)
    Good reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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