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Publisher's Summary

The deadly hurricane of 1928 claimed 2500 lives, and the long-forgotten story of the casualties, as told in Black Cloud, continues to stir passion. Among the dead were 700 black Floridian men, women, and children who were buried in an unmarked West Palm Beach ditch during a racist recovery and rebuilding effort that conscripted the labor of blacks much like latter-day slaves. Palm Beach Post reporter Eliot Kleinberg has penned this gripping tale from dozens of interviews with survivors, diary entries, accounts from newspapers, government documents, and reports from the National Weather Service and the Red Cross. Immortalized in Zora Neale Hurston's classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, thousands of poor blacks had nowhere to run when the waters of Lake Okeechobee rose. No one spoke for them, no one stood up for them, and no one could save them. With heroic tales of survival and loss, this book finally gives the dead the dignity they deserve. The new, updated edition of this important book is published by the Florida Historical Society Press.

©2016 Florida Historical Society (P)2017 Florida Historical Society

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting, plays with emotions

What did you like best about this story?

The glimpse of weather prediction history and the stories of survival and courage.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the stories of people who were able to pull together and survive. There were many lost as well, and so it pulls your heart back and forth between sadness and triumph. Great for folks that like regional history, weather, people stories or a mix of all of the above like myself. I received a copy of this audio book for my voluntary and honest opinion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 03-30-17

Much more than account of a single hurricane

Eliot Kleinberg's Black Cloud is more than just an account of the 1928 hurricane. While that is the centre piece of the book, covering it in great detail, it is broader in scope than that - also looking at the wider history of hurricanes in Florida, their impact and how things have changed in response to them.

Klienberg puts the 1928 hurricane in a wider context of other hurricanes, Florida's attempts at the time to promote the state as a great place to live, and at the ingrained racism of the time. Kleinburg attempts to provide comparisons to hurricanes before and since 1928, in terms of deaths and infrastructure cost, noting the changes in how things are built, how costs and deaths are calculated, and even how storm strengths are calculated have completely changed. There is much guess work in this, as many of the storm measurement devices didn't hold up against the storm and top end wind speeds and rain values aren't exactly known. Similarly the exact details of how many dead aren't known and much is put to speculation based on varying accounts.

Klienburg has included many accounts of the storm, giving both depressing stories of loss, and hopeful stories of unexpected survival and reunion.

There is more focus on the aftermath, how the cleanup was done, who did what, how people were treated, than there is around the actual storm. The book also gives details on how changes because of this storm (such as changes to the levee system) have helped prevent such serious damage and death since.

The blurb made it sound like the focus of the book would be on the racism and Jim Crow type actions that made the hurricane worse for black people. That is certainly there in this book, and there are some discussions on it, but it's not as front and centre as I expected. Rather than being a bold out and out discussion on it (although there is some of that), it is weaved throughout the book, almost as a depressing additional commentary.


Narration by Lee Ann Howlett was good. Clear, easy to follow and well paced. She was engaging and worked well for what was a heavy subject.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A tragedy that needed to be told

What made the experience of listening to Black Cloud the most enjoyable?

Learning facets of the hurricane and it's timeless impact and what we can attribute today when connecting the facts.

Have you listened to any of Lee Ann Howlett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Strong, narration for the seriousness of the subject at hand.

Any additional comments?

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Black Cloud

This is the story of the Hurricane that went through Florida in 1928 leaving destruction on a massive scale.Told ,matter of factly, by Lee Ann Howlett it is a must read.I was provided this book free by the author, narrator or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Vivid and Fascinating Account of the Hurricane

What did you love best about Black Cloud?

It was richly detailed and had a strong sense of time and place. Personal accounts of what people actually experienced made this book a vivid and emotional. I loved the narration, Lee Ann Howlett was terrific.

What other book might you compare Black Cloud to and why?

I have never read another book about a hurricane or any other catastrophic weather event. But I strongly felt that this was a story that needed telling.

Have you listened to any of Lee Ann Howlett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I plan to listen to her other narrations. She was able to keep me focused with her clarity and pace.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many moments of both the survivors and those who didn't survive. Also, the struggle of those whose tried to help afterwards, their heroism was touching.

Any additional comments?

Lee Ann Howlett narrates this book flawlessly, in a no-nonsense crystal clear way. I can tell when a narrator understands what they are reading and when they don't. Lee Ann Howlett clearly understands the material she is narrating. Very easy to follow along even though the material is dense with facts, descriptions, and analysis of the many things that went wrong and those that were done correctly. She's the perfect narrator for this book.<br/><br/><br/>I highly recommend this tale of nature, human perseverance, courage and charity. It is a spellbinding story and one I will always remember. <br/>

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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interesting

Pretty interesting and informative. Somewhat repetitive at times.

Great narration. Very well done.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Black Cloud


Black Cloud: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928
: Eliot Kleinberg


A recounting of 1928 hurricane that hit Florida. A lot of information was repeated multiple times. The book could probably have been shortened by single reference to events and still been informative. There was good information provided.


The narration was well done by Lee Ann Howlett.



"I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Danger Still Making News Today!

Where does Black Cloud rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is a strong entry in non fiction. There are elements of social injustice, natural catastrophe, regional history. And it's well written and narrated. There are personal stories of families.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Black Cloud?

The realization that what occurred is even today, of major concern. Lake Okeechobee. You know the pictures from space? That big body of water in Florida is the subject of this disaster-Lake Okeechobee . I Googled the Lake and it is still a major concern TODAY!

What does Lee Ann Howlett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought she did an outstanding job! Very pleasant, listenable voice. And though I'm no expert, her pronunciations seem right. I think that some of the material was a bit dry and Lee Ann made it more easy to hear about. Kept my attention!

Any additional comments?

An important issue was the racism that was prevalent at the time this disaster took place. A reason you may not be aware of the circumstances was that the victims were poor and Black.<br/><br/>This was an interesting work! I enjoy History that is well researched and written. This fits in those criteria. I don't have any connection to Florida or the area, but this still held my attention. <br/><br/>This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator or publisher at no cost. Which I can only assume was voluntary on their part. I am happy to give my honest review of it. I think I'm suppose to mention how reviewing this was voluntary on my part too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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If you like natural disasters, you will like this

If you could sum up Black Cloud in three words, what would they be?

exciting Florida history

If you’ve listened to books by Eliot Kleinberg before, how does this one compare?

I have not listen to any other book by this author.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was ok. A little monotone

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

I received this book in exchange for a review. The book was ok, it followed the typical history format. It got a little confusing with all the names that were thrown around. But it was an enjoyable book.

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Not a story

This is a fascinating documentary of a long story line of hurricane history then and now with lots of graphic sporadic bits of actual pieces of people's stories from that time. The terrible loss of life especially the children is just so hard to listen to. The constant lack of regard for black communities is devastating. The mass burials the lack of information given to them to prepare. The just total horrible way people treated one another is hard to hear. This is not a story. This is a in depth look at a period of time and at a shocking lack of how little was know about hurricane preparedness. If your squimish be aware this is extremely graphic in its death scenes. I received this book at no charge in exchange for an honest review.