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Great Beach Reads! Books About Hurricanes!

Updated on May 2, 2015

In today's present technologic society, Hurricanes and other storms are covered from every angle possible. The size and power is illustrated right on your computer and television screens. The story of these storms usually only last as long as the storms themselves. This near simultaneous narrative of storms wasn't always the way. Many storms of the past hit without notice and details of the impacts wouldn't reach the rest of the world for days or even weeks! Some storms of the past are still leaking out stories as every year goes by. These narrations of past storms intertwine science, history, and human experience all into one.This cultural history illuminates the science and hopefully prepares us for the impacts of future storms.

In the following paragraphs I will suggest some great books on some devastating Hurricanes that have impacted the United States. Each book will cover one individual storm. The three storms that will be covered include the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and finally the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. These three storms hit different parts of the country but shared some scary attributes. The storms were all monsters in terms of strength, they all arrived without warning and they all inflicted death and destruction onto the landscape. These three storms, hitting Texas, Florida and New England prove that the infliction known as hurricanes can decimate any stretch of the United States shoreline in the east.

The following books are great reads. Due to the lack of technology back in the day, the records of these storms are brought to you through the aftermath and human experience. This human element makes these stories not only interesting but emotional. It will draw you in, teaching you history and allowing you to relate to the people that lived through these horrible storms.

Isaac's Storm

To start in chronological order of the actual storms impacting the United States, the first book to read would be Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson. This may be the best hurricane related novel written so far. The narrative follows Galveston's meteorologist Isaac Cline (a real person) as the massive category 4 hurricane hits Galveston on September 8, 1900 killing anywhere between 6,000 and 12,000 people. Although the book reads like a great piece of fiction, it is not. Much of the book is based on real observations from the time and gives you a good picture of what really happened.

Floating wreckage, Galveston hurricane, 1900
Floating wreckage, Galveston hurricane, 1900 | Source

Storm of the Century the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935

If your not too shocked by Isaac's Storm and want to read more about storms hitting the United States, the next book on the list is 'Storm of the Century the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935". This book follows the veterans of World War I who were working to build the highway through the keys, under one of FDR's great depression work programs, when they are hit, without warning, by a hurricane on Monday September 2, Labor Day. To this day this hurricane still holds the record for the lowest recorded pressure in the continental United States. The pressure was 892 millibars at landfall with sustain winds of 200 miles per hour, the strongest in the western hemisphere. The storm was the first category five storm to hit the United States in the 20th century. This storm still remains the third strongest storm on record, only Hurricane Wilma (2005) and Hurricane Gilbert (1988) having lower pressures, but those were out over water! This book details the events of this storm through the eyes of the hard workers, many who lived in tents and temporary housing and up to 400 of them would perish from the storm.

Train derailed by the 1935 hurricane
Train derailed by the 1935 hurricane | Source

Sudden Sea The Great Hurricane of 1938

The final book I would recommend is "Sudden Sea The Great Hurricane of 1938" by R.A. Scotti. This book covers the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, aka The Long Island express, which hit New England on September 21, 1938 without warning as a category 3 storm. I've read many books on this Hurricane considering my grandmother lived through the storm as a young girl but found this one to be the best! Read my other hub The Long Island Express: Arrival September 21, 1938 , which has more reading suggestions on this particular storm.

1938 Hurricane News Reel Video

I hope these suggestions offer you some great options for reading material. They truly are great illustrations of history and you'll find it hard to put down these books once you start reading them!


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    • BWD316 profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Dooling 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks for the comment Eiddwen!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      So very interesting !!

      Very well presented and here's to many more for me to share on here with you.

      Take care and have a great day.



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