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With A Furious Sky, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin tells the history of America itself through its five-hundred-year battle with the fury of hurricanes. Hurricanes menace North America from June through November every year, each as powerful as 10,000 nuclear bombs. These megastorms will likely become more intense as the planet continues to warm, yet we too often treat t With A Furious Sky, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin tells the history of America itself through its five-hundred-year battle with the fury of hurricanes. Hurricanes menace North America from June through November every year, each as powerful as 10,000 nuclear bombs. These megastorms will likely become more intense as the planet continues to warm, yet we too often treat them as local disasters and TV spectacles, unaware of how far-ranging their impact can be. As best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin contends, we must look to our nation’s past if we hope to comprehend the consequences of the hurricanes of the future. With A Furious Sky, Dolin has created a vivid, sprawling account of our encounters with hurricanes, from the nameless storms that threatened Columbus’s New World voyages to the destruction wrought in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. Weaving a story of shipwrecks and devastated cities, of heroism and folly, Dolin introduces a rich cast of unlikely heroes, such as Benito Vines, a nineteenth-century Jesuit priest whose innovative methods for predicting hurricanes saved countless lives, and puts us in the middle of the most devastating storms of the past, none worse than the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed at least 6,000 people, the highest toll of any natural disaster in American history. Dolin draws on a vast array of sources as he melds American history, as it is usually told, with the history of hurricanes, showing how these tempests frequently helped determine the nation’s course. Hurricanes, it turns out, prevented Spain from expanding its holdings in North America beyond Florida in the late 1500s, and they also played a key role in shifting the tide of the American Revolution against the British in the final stages of the conflict. As he moves through the centuries, following the rise of the United States despite the chaos caused by hurricanes, Dolin traces the corresponding development of hurricane science, from important discoveries made by Benjamin Franklin to the breakthroughs spurred by the necessities of the World War II and the Cold War. Yet after centuries of study and despite remarkable leaps in scientific knowledge and technological prowess, there are still limits on our ability to predict exactly when and where hurricanes will strike, and we remain terribly vulnerable to the greatest storms on earth. A Furious Sky is, ultimately, a story of a changing climate, and it forces us to reckon with the reality that as bad as the past has been, the future will probably be worse, unless we drastically reimagine our relationship with the planet. 103 black-and-white illustrations; 8 pages of color illustrations


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With A Furious Sky, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin tells the history of America itself through its five-hundred-year battle with the fury of hurricanes. Hurricanes menace North America from June through November every year, each as powerful as 10,000 nuclear bombs. These megastorms will likely become more intense as the planet continues to warm, yet we too often treat t With A Furious Sky, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin tells the history of America itself through its five-hundred-year battle with the fury of hurricanes. Hurricanes menace North America from June through November every year, each as powerful as 10,000 nuclear bombs. These megastorms will likely become more intense as the planet continues to warm, yet we too often treat them as local disasters and TV spectacles, unaware of how far-ranging their impact can be. As best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin contends, we must look to our nation’s past if we hope to comprehend the consequences of the hurricanes of the future. With A Furious Sky, Dolin has created a vivid, sprawling account of our encounters with hurricanes, from the nameless storms that threatened Columbus’s New World voyages to the destruction wrought in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. Weaving a story of shipwrecks and devastated cities, of heroism and folly, Dolin introduces a rich cast of unlikely heroes, such as Benito Vines, a nineteenth-century Jesuit priest whose innovative methods for predicting hurricanes saved countless lives, and puts us in the middle of the most devastating storms of the past, none worse than the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed at least 6,000 people, the highest toll of any natural disaster in American history. Dolin draws on a vast array of sources as he melds American history, as it is usually told, with the history of hurricanes, showing how these tempests frequently helped determine the nation’s course. Hurricanes, it turns out, prevented Spain from expanding its holdings in North America beyond Florida in the late 1500s, and they also played a key role in shifting the tide of the American Revolution against the British in the final stages of the conflict. As he moves through the centuries, following the rise of the United States despite the chaos caused by hurricanes, Dolin traces the corresponding development of hurricane science, from important discoveries made by Benjamin Franklin to the breakthroughs spurred by the necessities of the World War II and the Cold War. Yet after centuries of study and despite remarkable leaps in scientific knowledge and technological prowess, there are still limits on our ability to predict exactly when and where hurricanes will strike, and we remain terribly vulnerable to the greatest storms on earth. A Furious Sky is, ultimately, a story of a changing climate, and it forces us to reckon with the reality that as bad as the past has been, the future will probably be worse, unless we drastically reimagine our relationship with the planet. 103 black-and-white illustrations; 8 pages of color illustrations

30 review for A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    4.5 rounded up full post here http://www.nonfictionrealstuff.com/20... As someone living in South Florida, about a third of a mile as the crow flies from the coast, reading this book during a very active hurricane season may not have been the brightest idea in terms of mental health. I needn't have worried: it was so well done that I found myself completely engrossed almost immediately. As it turns out, all is not doom and gloom here -- as the dustjacket blurb reveals, it is a melding of "American h 4.5 rounded up full post here http://www.nonfictionrealstuff.com/20... As someone living in South Florida, about a third of a mile as the crow flies from the coast, reading this book during a very active hurricane season may not have been the brightest idea in terms of mental health. I needn't have worried: it was so well done that I found myself completely engrossed almost immediately. As it turns out, all is not doom and gloom here -- as the dustjacket blurb reveals, it is a melding of "American history, as it is usually told, with the history of hurricanes, showing how these tempests frequently helped determine the nation's course." It is also one of the most compelling and seriously educational nonfiction books of my reading year so far, combining history, personal accounts, the science of meteorology, the growth of forecasting/prediction technologies, politics, and a look at the very real hazards of climate change, which has the potential to bring ever more powerful storms into our lives. It's tough to do a broad history like this one, but Mr. Dolin's done a fine job here and the book makes for great reading even for people like me who aren't particularly gifted in the realm of science. Very highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    The history and science for the past five hundred years of Hurricanes. How meteorology developed around hurricanes and how hurricanes have inserted themselves in US and Caribbean history. From early Barometers to flying planes into the storm, weather satellites. and high powered computer models. One of the scary things is that that most of the costly hurricanes in the US were from the last 30 years. The damage is getting worse and more often and it's not all due to the fact that there is more st The history and science for the past five hundred years of Hurricanes. How meteorology developed around hurricanes and how hurricanes have inserted themselves in US and Caribbean history. From early Barometers to flying planes into the storm, weather satellites. and high powered computer models. One of the scary things is that that most of the costly hurricanes in the US were from the last 30 years. The damage is getting worse and more often and it's not all due to the fact that there is more stuff to break.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fred Shaw

    A well written history of hurricanes in the Americas. Highly recommended if you are interested in the topic. I personally am interested in the power of mother nature, and live in South Carolina which is in “Hurricane Alley”. As a result of reading this, I am better informed and in the process of developing a hurricane plan.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josh Liller

    I have definitely become a fan of Eric Jay Dolin's work, having started with Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse. As a Southeast Florida resident for most of my life, hurricanes are certainly a subject of interest to me. During the last six years I have read Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown, and Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise I have definitely become a fan of Eric Jay Dolin's work, having started with Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse. As a Southeast Florida resident for most of my life, hurricanes are certainly a subject of interest to me. During the last six years I have read Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown, and Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean, and two famous novels that include the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane as a major event (A Land Remembered and Their Eyes Were Watching God). This book is just over 300 pages of main text. The first three chapters cover a hurricane Columbus encountered one of his voyages through some notable Colonial Era storms through the 19th century. Along the way, Dolin traces the study of tropical cyclones. The next three chapters look at some of the more famous major hurricanes of the 1900-1940 era: the 1900 Galveston Hurricane; the 1926 Great Miami Hurricane, 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, and 1935 Labor Day Hurricane of the Florida Keys; and the 1938 Great New England Hurricane of 1938. The latter storm seems to be a particular fascination of Dolin's as Brilliant Beacons spends an entire chapter on the hurricane's impact on the Lighthouse Service. Chapter 7 looks at the extensive advances in hurricane study, tracking, and forecasting from World World II to today - particularly Hurricane Hunter aircraft, Doppler radar, satellites, and computer modeling. Chapter 8 hits the highlights of major hurricanes from the 1950s through 2017 including Camille, Andrew, and Katrina. An Epilogue briefly discusses Global Warming and its impact on hurricanes (something sure to rankle certain folks). My favorite parts were about the history of hurricane meteorology. As someone who, by age and geographic location, didn't have to worry about hurricanes until the 1990s, the degree to which hurricanes can be tracked is so far advance in my time than it was in the mid-20th century, much less farther into the past. The pre-modern storms were also particularly interesting since I was unfamiliar with that era. The coverage of 20th and 21st century hurricanes is fine. Dolin's writing is up to its usual standards, making this book a breeze to read. However, as someone who has previously read about those storms there didn't really seem to be anything new to say on the subject. If you've read Isaac's Storm, you're probably not missing anything if you skipped that chapter. On the other hand, getting the latest synopses on Camille, Katrina, and Sandy was interesting. The more abbreviated treatment of post-WW2 storms feels a little spotty. Dolin is upfront at the beginning of the book that he can't cover every major storm. Still, I think this book would have been well-served with another hundred pages. Donna, Hugo, and especially the 2004 season (four hurricanes hit Florida) were notable exclusions. North Carolina, whose Outer Banks get a lot of hurricane and tropical storm impacts, seemed almost completely excluded. Dolin seems most fascinated by the outlier hurricanes that have impacted his home region of New England. Overall, this is a very good book, especially if you've never read a book about hurricanes before. Strong recommendation to a general audience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    I started reading this book on the history of hurricanes on a day before a hurricane was supposed to hit my area, it did not hit us bad, but the history of hurricanes kept my interest, now that I am finished we are seeing the potential for a really bad time in 5 days as 2 Tropical Storms will be hitting the gulf at the same time, on 8/25 potentially becoming historic as well. The History of Hurricanes is fascinating and Dolin keeps the interest by making the stories easy to read and fascinating. I started reading this book on the history of hurricanes on a day before a hurricane was supposed to hit my area, it did not hit us bad, but the history of hurricanes kept my interest, now that I am finished we are seeing the potential for a really bad time in 5 days as 2 Tropical Storms will be hitting the gulf at the same time, on 8/25 potentially becoming historic as well. The History of Hurricanes is fascinating and Dolin keeps the interest by making the stories easy to read and fascinating. Going as far back as Christopher Columbus’ experience to an afterword about Dorian that hit in 2019. Dolin covers a huge amount of stories some of which I did not know about. He also has an informative chapter on how the different ways we use to investigate hurricanes came together be and a chapter about the Rogue storms that have hit us for the past 40 years, finally a word about climate change and how it could affect hurricanes in the future. A very informative and current history of hurricanes that is informative and easy to understand. Highly recommended!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    If you enjoyed 'Isaac's Storm' you will love this book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: I loved everything about this one, which was informative, well written, and fun to read. This is one of those books where the cover designer just gets me. At first sight, I knew this history of hurricanes in the US was going to be my type of narrative nonfiction. And I'm happy to say that I was right! I'm also reading this book because it was nominated for the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. It seems like the goal of this prize is to pick the subjectively best nonfiction book awarded a Kirk Summary: I loved everything about this one, which was informative, well written, and fun to read. This is one of those books where the cover designer just gets me. At first sight, I knew this history of hurricanes in the US was going to be my type of narrative nonfiction. And I'm happy to say that I was right! I'm also reading this book because it was nominated for the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. It seems like the goal of this prize is to pick the subjectively best nonfiction book awarded a Kirkus star during the year. Under that criteria, I think this first book I've read from the shortlist is a strong contender. Now, let me count the ways I loved this book. 1. Big Picture + Personal Stories Many of my favorite nonfiction reads combine big picture world events with intimate personal stories. In this book, that's done very well. The story first moves chronologically through a series of hurricanes, showing how they influenced American history. Cultural and scientific developments that changed how we understand and predict hurricanes were also covered. Sometimes these stories required a significant digression from talking about hurricanes. I never minded, because the side stories were so good and always paid off in a better understanding of hurricanes and their history. Along side these bigger picture elements, the author shared gripping stories of people caught up in or trying to predict hurricanes. 2. Organization The first section of this book, which chronologically covers fewer than a dozen major hurricanes, clearly establishes the bigger picture story of hurricanes in the US. When I finished reading this section, I knew some of the major intersections between hurricane history and key moments in American history. I also understood how our ability to predict hurricanes has changed over time. This section was clear and easy to follow. Examples kept it exciting, but didn't bog it down. Some major hurricanes were left out entirely though. Their stories were instead included in a series of essays in the last chapter. They all made for compelling reading, so I was glad they were covered. However, I think the decision not to include them earlier was the right choice, improving clarity and flow. 3. Well Written Of course a book has to be well written for me to really love it. The author did a great job incorporating first person quotes and paraphrases. Moving stories ranging from the tragic to the humorous were brought to life in vivid detail. There was also some care taken in identifying examples of racism. When responses to hurricanes were either definitely or potentially influenced by racism, the author clearly notes this. There are a few spots where I thought there was room for improvement, such as where the author seems to accept Clara Barton's assertion that the black Gullah people required aid as an incentive to rebuild. Overall though, I thought racism was handled well here. 4. Fun + Learning Overall, this book was both informative and a pleasure to read. I can't ask for more from a work of nonfiction! Fortunately, the other books on the Kirkus shortlist are also ones that I've heard great things about. This is going to be a tough competition!This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey

  8. 4 out of 5

    William B

    Third time is the triumph for author Eric Jay Dolin! After reading his previous works (Brilliant Beacons and Black Flags, Blue Waters), and enjoying both of those books I might add, I couldn’t wait to see what other historical theme Dolin was going to dole out (no pun intended) in the near future. I became ecstatic, when in April 2020, I found out that Dolin indeed was ready to release a new book in August, and the topic of his new book was going to be about the history of America’s hurricanes. Third time is the triumph for author Eric Jay Dolin! After reading his previous works (Brilliant Beacons and Black Flags, Blue Waters), and enjoying both of those books I might add, I couldn’t wait to see what other historical theme Dolin was going to dole out (no pun intended) in the near future. I became ecstatic, when in April 2020, I found out that Dolin indeed was ready to release a new book in August, and the topic of his new book was going to be about the history of America’s hurricanes. I was hooked! Dolin chronologically explains the history of hurricanes, from Christopher Columbus’s near misses with these monstrous storms to the record-breaking 2017 hurricane season where Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria became the trio of destruction that smashed records. With that said, one of my favorite chapters in the book, Chapter 6 “The Great Hurricane of 1938”, not only informed me, but left me in a state of shock when learning of what happened when that great storm hit New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Some of the stories from the victims, including a personal account from the actress Katherine Hepburn, who was affected by the storm when it hit her summer home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, were shocking, dramatic, heartbreaking and even oddly humorous at times. Hurricanes are terrifying and it’s mother nature’s fury unleashed. Among the stories told, I learned more about the “Great Miami Hurricane of 1926” that left Miami in shambles and I also learned details about the “Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928” which devastated West Palm Beach and Belle Glade. Some of the other stories, such as the “Galveston Hurricane of 1900” and “The Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935”, I was already familiar with, but I didn’t mind reading about them again. The contemporary hurricanes that really creeped me out were Hurricanes Camille, Andrew, Katrina, Sandy and Irma. Dolin breaks down the information we need to know about these monsters in Chapter 8 “A Rogues Gallery”. Just one little critique I do have to give to the author is that he made two slight mistakes in the text that I hope will be corrected in the near future. 1) In p. 130, he misspelled the name of a town that was affected by the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 as “Port Macaya”. The town is actually called Port Mayaca. 2) In p. 258, when the section on Hurricane Katrina is about to begin, the author wrote the date of Katrina’s landfall in South Florida as “August 24, 1992”. That year is wrong, because it landed in South Florida in the year 2005. Albeit with those two corrections, “A Furious Sky” is an informative, dramatic, historical view of hurricanes that have impacted and will continue to impact America and it’s southern neighbors of Central America and the Caribbean. I recommend everyone to read this book because it will humble you and make you realize that mother nature needs to be taken care of and respected. If you don’t take care of Mother Earth, she will get angry and you will not like what she has in store 🌫.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    I had looked forward to reading this book for a long time, but the truth is that, for me at least, it was a disappointment. I'm very interested in hurricanes as I live in an area where hurricanes love to hang out, so I've read lots and lots of articles and books about hurricanes. This book covered all the expected ground---how hurricanes form, the history of forecasting hurricanes, the most famous hurricanes---but all the information felt like information better covered in other books and the bo I had looked forward to reading this book for a long time, but the truth is that, for me at least, it was a disappointment. I'm very interested in hurricanes as I live in an area where hurricanes love to hang out, so I've read lots and lots of articles and books about hurricanes. This book covered all the expected ground---how hurricanes form, the history of forecasting hurricanes, the most famous hurricanes---but all the information felt like information better covered in other books and the book didn't have that zing of storytelling delight that I enjoy in good nonfiction. The technical information on hurricanes and the history of hurricane forecasting were two parts of the book I was least interested in, and these seemed to be about half of the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Younkin

    Even if you’ve never had the experience of hunkering down during a hurricane or witnessing the aftermath directly, you’ll be riveted by this book by Eric Jay Dolin. The author has compiled numerous stories and histories of some of America’s worst storms from the 1500s all the way to 2017 when three storms, Harvey, Irma, and Maria ravaged Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. He has also dedicated chapters to the history of forecasting hurricanes and some of the pioneers in meteorology. Dolin provide Even if you’ve never had the experience of hunkering down during a hurricane or witnessing the aftermath directly, you’ll be riveted by this book by Eric Jay Dolin. The author has compiled numerous stories and histories of some of America’s worst storms from the 1500s all the way to 2017 when three storms, Harvey, Irma, and Maria ravaged Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. He has also dedicated chapters to the history of forecasting hurricanes and some of the pioneers in meteorology. Dolin provides much more than a history lesson. He covers the drama surrounding the men who advanced knowledge in the study of hurricanes. For instance, James Espy and William Redfield were contemporaries and bitter rivals in the early 1800s. Both had theories about how hurricanes formed and moved, and each was convinced he was right. Espy had the idea that hurricanes were propelled by air being heated by warm ocean water pulling in more air behind it. He was also sure that the winds moved in a straight front. He was opposed to Redfield’s proposal that the storms moved in a circle around a center axis. They were at the forefront of an “American Storm Controversy” fueled by newspapers. A public contentious battle was fought between the two. Both men died believing they were right, never knowing that they each only had part of the story. Espy understood how storms formed and Redfield got that they moved around a central axis. Then there’s the Jesuit priest and self-taught meteorologist, Father Benito Vines. Through his study of the storms, he predicted hurricanes in Cuba with remarkable accuracy for the 1870s. He instituted a strict program of collecting data gathering temperature reading, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, and the type of clouds observed. He also collected data from ships as they arrived in Havana. His observations allowed him to make remarkably accurate predictions as other meteorologists were scrambling to understand when and where storms would hit. Dolin presents the advances in technology that made forecasting more reliable. From the invention of the telegraph, all the way to weather satellites, and the Hurricane Hunter planes that fly into the eye of storms he recounts the scientific achievements that have improved forecasting and undoubtedly saved countless lives. The scope of this book is impressive, but the individual stories of those who rode out the storms, what they endured, and how they survived were what moved me the most. This is a book for those who have an interest in history, hurricanes, and survival stories. I have received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Vallar

    What is a hurricane? A picture immediately forms in your mind, especially if you’ve experienced even just the peripheral fury of such a storm. Moist, warm air. Swirling, violent wind. Torrential downpours. Colossal waves. Swells of flood water. A tranquil eye that belies even greater devastation as the storm passes over. Yet, as with many questions, there is no simple answer, and the power of even just an average hurricane unleashes the same energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs. Within the pages of A What is a hurricane? A picture immediately forms in your mind, especially if you’ve experienced even just the peripheral fury of such a storm. Moist, warm air. Swirling, violent wind. Torrential downpours. Colossal waves. Swells of flood water. A tranquil eye that belies even greater devastation as the storm passes over. Yet, as with many questions, there is no simple answer, and the power of even just an average hurricane unleashes the same energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs. Within the pages of A Furious Sky, Dolin not only tackles the answer to this question, but also discusses the evolution of these storms and our ability to monitor and forecast them. At the same time, he takes us on a gut-wrenching journey through five centuries of history to experience hurricanes that have struck America and to meet individuals who experienced the devastating wrath of Mother Nature. Dolin focuses on three aspects of hurricanes in this book: the storm as it approaches and makes landfall, its impact on individuals and places, and the response of people and government immediately after it passes. The story opens on 26 June 1957, just before Audrey came ashore in Louisiana. Her sustained winds were 145 miles an hour. She brought with her a storm surge of twelve feet and waves as high as fifteen feet. She took the lives of about 500 people, left 5,000 others homeless, and tore apart almost every building in Cameron Parish, resulting in losses of between $150,000,000 and $200,000,000. To create a more poignant account than just a recitation of facts, Dolin introduces us to specific people whose lives are forever changed. In this case, Dr. Cecil and Sybil Clark. By doing so, we experience viscerally their harrowing ordeal and the tragic events that unfold. While this is not a comprehensive account of every hurricane to strike America, Dolin does a commendable job choosing those of particular interest to many of us. The earliest storms have neither names nor scale ratings, but they are significant nonetheless. Among these are the 1609 hurricane that is believed to have been the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s The Tempest; the dire experience of two men during the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635, one whose family would play leading roles in New England religion and politics; and the hurricane that destroyed Spain’s Treasure Fleet of 1715, which influenced piratical history during what has become known as the golden age of piracy. Among the many other hurricanes explored in this book are the Galveston Hurricane of 1900; the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935; Hugo; Isabel; Carol, Edna, Hazel, and Connie – the first storms to have their names retired; Camille; Andrew; Iniki; Katrina; Sandy; and from the “season that wouldn’t quit,” Harvey, Irma, and Maria. A New and Violent World; The Law of Storms; Seeing into the Future; Obliterated; Death and Destruction in the Sunshine State; The Great Hurricane of 1938; Into, Over, and Under the Maelstrom; A Rogues’ Gallery; and Stormy Weather Ahead – these are the chapters that enlighten and inform us about the storms themselves, the history of weather forecasting, and scientific discoveries and technology associated with hurricanes. Dolin incorporates a plethora of firsthand quotations throughout the narrative, as well as peppering it with illustrations related to specific hurricanes, such as before and after a storm passed over a particular place. There is also a center section of color artwork, charts, photographs, and satellite images. In addition to a section of notes at the end of the book, which provide citations and additional information, he also provides footnotes throughout the book to explain important details at the bottom of some pages. The appendix consists of two tables that rank the costliest hurricanes. There are also a select bibliography and an index. A Furious Sky is a spellbinding look at the history of hurricanes that have struck America. What makes this an even more vital addition to the study of hurricanes is that Dolin doesn’t examine each storm in a void. Instead, he shows the profound impact each has had on people and places, as well as how they have shaped our country. This journey encompasses hurricanes from Christopher Columbus’s voyages of discovery to Maria’s decimation of Puerto Rico. He presents scientific concepts in easy-to-understand language that keeps us just as interested as the visceral survivors’ accounts. He introduces us to unlikely heroes – some well-known, like Dan Rather whose coverage of one storm to hit Texas forever changed the way hurricanes are reported in the media; others forgotten, like Father Benito Viñes, a Jesuit who helped save many people in the 1800s because of his fascination with these storms. Dolin’s masterful storytelling intertwines weather, history, politics, invention, and technology in a way that leaves us with a “you are there” feeling. It is an experience not to be missed and not soon forgotten.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    This book is a must if you are into the history of Hurricanes around the world. He is very thorough and growing up on the east coast i have a better understanding about them. I have read other books by this author about lighthouses and Pirates! Excellent read!! I won this Book as a Goodreads Giveaway!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ken Heard

    Unbelievable! Forget the topic of weather, this may be the best nonfiction book of any topic I've read in quite a long while. I was blown away (sorry for the hurricane pun) by the scope of this excellent look at the history of hurricanes and the Weather Bureau and National Weather Service. Eric Dolin writes well and his stories are engaging and easily read. This is a book that's hard to put down. It's a comprehensive study of mostly Atlantic and Gulf storms and the wide-sweeping effects of them. Unbelievable! Forget the topic of weather, this may be the best nonfiction book of any topic I've read in quite a long while. I was blown away (sorry for the hurricane pun) by the scope of this excellent look at the history of hurricanes and the Weather Bureau and National Weather Service. Eric Dolin writes well and his stories are engaging and easily read. This is a book that's hard to put down. It's a comprehensive study of mostly Atlantic and Gulf storms and the wide-sweeping effects of them. He even includes Columbus' voyages and how hurricanes changed the practices of pirates back in the 1700s. It's that kind of depth! Of course, he includes in detail the Galveston, Texas, hurricane along with scores of others - Camille, Irma, Katrina, Sandy. And he has scores of anecdotes about each one. I was mostly interested in the science behind the formation of the storms and the evolution of predicting them. I was the weather reporter for nearly 20 years at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and I covered the aftermath of Andrew in Louisiana in 1992. His inclusion of the Weather Service's advances in radars, the airplanes that fly in to the storms' eyes and the creation of the spaghetti models of prediction were all fascinating. Obviously, this is a must read for weather geeks like me. But it's also a fantastic book for anyone interested in history, politics, culture, Americana, life, etc.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tawney

    I received this book compliments of Liveright through the Goodreads giveaway program. Eric Dolin not only packs a tremendous amount of information in this book, but he does it in a highly readable way. The sections on the hurricanes themselves encompass both the meteorological and human aspects of these storms. In addition to that he tells the history of figuring out what hurricanes are and how they act. (It wasn't always obvious and there were egos involved.) Hurricanes sometimes battered the w I received this book compliments of Liveright through the Goodreads giveaway program. Eric Dolin not only packs a tremendous amount of information in this book, but he does it in a highly readable way. The sections on the hurricanes themselves encompass both the meteorological and human aspects of these storms. In addition to that he tells the history of figuring out what hurricanes are and how they act. (It wasn't always obvious and there were egos involved.) Hurricanes sometimes battered the weather service when predictions were wrong and warnings late. Technology helped - not only in gathering data, but disseminating information to the public (although now it may be too much of a good thing). The book has vast documentation, but is never dryly academic. It's fascinating and Dolin's admonitions on areas that will have to be addressed due to global warming are thought provoking.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robert Johnson

    Eric Jay Dolin’s latest book “A Furious Sky” should be a must read for everyone that has or will be affected by these behemoth storms of the ocean, which is all of us. More than a list of storms, it is a well written history of tropical storms growing into hurricanes, the development and growth of meteorology and the process of projecting the tracks of hurricanes, of the brave men and women that fly into the storms to gather needed information and the current use of satellites and computer model Eric Jay Dolin’s latest book “A Furious Sky” should be a must read for everyone that has or will be affected by these behemoth storms of the ocean, which is all of us. More than a list of storms, it is a well written history of tropical storms growing into hurricanes, the development and growth of meteorology and the process of projecting the tracks of hurricanes, of the brave men and women that fly into the storms to gather needed information and the current use of satellites and computer models. That being said the book highlights the most impactful storms throughout the 500 year history including the 1900 monster of Galveston, as well as Camille, Andrew, Iniki, Katrina, Sandy and the multiple storms of 2017. Sprinkled with the words of meteorologists and survivors the stories are dramatic and reinforce the unpredictable and ferocious nature of hurricanes. Well written, exciting and compellingly informative I highly recommend this book for readers and as a gift for readers. This book will also serve a a great stepping off to search out books that are dedicated to individual storms. I found this book easy to ready, yet very informative. I highly recommend it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Coffey

    Beautifully written and full of fantastic information about some of the most powerful storms to ever hit North America.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I must admit up front that hurricanes fascinate me. A furious Sky is a scientific, bureaucratic, and historic look at some of the strongest hurricanes affecting the United States in the past 500 years. Most of the chapters are about hurricanes from the 20th and 21st centuries. I especially enjoyed the section about the beginning of the Saffir - Simpson scale. I skimmed over the ancient information about the origins of hurricanes, but the remaining chapters are full of human interest stories that I must admit up front that hurricanes fascinate me. A furious Sky is a scientific, bureaucratic, and historic look at some of the strongest hurricanes affecting the United States in the past 500 years. Most of the chapters are about hurricanes from the 20th and 21st centuries. I especially enjoyed the section about the beginning of the Saffir - Simpson scale. I skimmed over the ancient information about the origins of hurricanes, but the remaining chapters are full of human interest stories that go along with these monstrous storms. It’s the perfect time of the year to release this nonfictional book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    HUGE glaring error: Katrina hit in 2005, not 1992. Well-written, and the author does a good job of staying focused on the book’s objective, but this is a book for those who know little about hurricanes. As a born and raised Floridian with a lifelong interest in weather, this book didn’t do much for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ami Stearns

    An overwhelming amount of information, at times a bit dry but offered a comprehensive history.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Well-researched and entertaining. I like the chronological format. Best nonfic I have read this summer.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    Attempting to cover 500 years of history in a single volume is ambitious, no matter the topic, but Eric Jay Dolin does an impressive job of being both thorough and efficient in his examination of five centuries of American interactions with hurricanes. There are the expected jaw-dropping numbers and mind-blowing photos, but Dolin also effectively incorporates the history of forecasting into his book, alongside personal stories that help illustrate the impact of each storm he examines. A Furious Attempting to cover 500 years of history in a single volume is ambitious, no matter the topic, but Eric Jay Dolin does an impressive job of being both thorough and efficient in his examination of five centuries of American interactions with hurricanes. There are the expected jaw-dropping numbers and mind-blowing photos, but Dolin also effectively incorporates the history of forecasting into his book, alongside personal stories that help illustrate the impact of each storm he examines. A Furious Sky is engaging throughout, and often viscerally upsetting in its discussion of the costs of -- and responses to -- storms. Perhaps most impressively, Dolin comfortably engages with the political tensions surrounding a number of the storms, foregrounding accuracy of reporting over concern about offended people who object to the fact he's reporting (be it about Katrina, Maria, or a number of earlier storms). Thanks to NetGalley and W.W. Norton for the ARC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve Blackburn

    Well documented and enjoyable read about hurricanes in America from colonial times up until today. Dolin covers many storms whose impacts have influenced American history, and he also explains how advances in weather forecasting and meteorology have led us to today's ability to track hurricanes from the time they begin as tropical storms, and to tighten up our ability to forecast where they will make landfall. This is the first book I've read by Eric Jay Dolin. I enjoyed it and look forward to pi Well documented and enjoyable read about hurricanes in America from colonial times up until today. Dolin covers many storms whose impacts have influenced American history, and he also explains how advances in weather forecasting and meteorology have led us to today's ability to track hurricanes from the time they begin as tropical storms, and to tighten up our ability to forecast where they will make landfall. This is the first book I've read by Eric Jay Dolin. I enjoyed it and look forward to picking up some of his other books. I've read a couple of books on related topics in the past year - The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin (about the blizzard across the Great Plains in 1888 that claimed the lives of many schoolchildren, which went into a lot of detail about weather forecasting capabilities at that time) and The Gulf by Jack E. Davis (an environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico). So I was expecting to find some stories in this book that were also in those two, and while there is some overlap, I was amazed that one of the first hurricane stories covered in this book was also one of the first stories told in the audiobook I was listening to at the same time - Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi. It's interesting that the story of Richard Mather and his Puritans finding themselves in the midst of the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 while at sea would be covered in books on such different topics.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erwin

    "A Furious Sky" provides a very detailed look at the hurricanes that have been part of the history of the United States and how some shaped the future of the country. For the hurricanes themselves Dolin provides individual chapters on the most destructive or powerful: The Galveston Hurricane of 1900, The "Sunshine State" (Florida) Hurricanes in the 20's and 30's plus the "Great Hurricane of 1938" and then adds a "Rogue's Gallery" of the more recent Hurricanes since the 50's. Along with the Hurrica "A Furious Sky" provides a very detailed look at the hurricanes that have been part of the history of the United States and how some shaped the future of the country. For the hurricanes themselves Dolin provides individual chapters on the most destructive or powerful: The Galveston Hurricane of 1900, The "Sunshine State" (Florida) Hurricanes in the 20's and 30's plus the "Great Hurricane of 1938" and then adds a "Rogue's Gallery" of the more recent Hurricanes since the 50's. Along with the Hurricane's themselves Dolin also takes the reader through the definition of a hurricane and how they are formed and measured along with the Weather Service developments through the years to be able to forecast and track Hurricanes better so as to save more lives and hopefully less destruction. Each of the Hurricanes comes with 'first hand' accounts by survivors which helps to personalize the story and the experience and this along with the many illustrations throughout the book offers the reader an excellent 'you are there' to each event.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    History exists through everything, even the weather. This look at the history of the United States, even before its founding, through the destructive forces wrought by historical hurricanes provides an interesting analysis of how meteorology and transportation evolved around the coastlines. I especially enjoyed learning about the Hurricane Hunters, the planes whose crew risked their lives to gather readings of the storms by flying into them and thereby providing scientists on the ground with sig History exists through everything, even the weather. This look at the history of the United States, even before its founding, through the destructive forces wrought by historical hurricanes provides an interesting analysis of how meteorology and transportation evolved around the coastlines. I especially enjoyed learning about the Hurricane Hunters, the planes whose crew risked their lives to gather readings of the storms by flying into them and thereby providing scientists on the ground with significant data on the nature of storm systems. Also the naming system we have today is the work of mid-twentieth century feminists whose actions led to the alternate naming system we have in place due to the derogatory terminology used for storm systems with female names. A Furious Sky also reminds us that we’re only human and have to hang on when a storms a-brewin’. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want a history of hurricanes with an engaging narrative. Coming out just in time for the height of the 2020 hurricane season, this is a gripping, at times horrifying, look at hurricanes (ending with Hurricane Maria). While the science of hurricane development is discussed, so are the advancement in forecasting, preparation, as well as tragic mistakes and outright racism in dealing with the storms and the aftermath. A fascinating read. Librarians/booksellers: A must purchase for your Read if you: Want a history of hurricanes with an engaging narrative. Coming out just in time for the height of the 2020 hurricane season, this is a gripping, at times horrifying, look at hurricanes (ending with Hurricane Maria). While the science of hurricane development is discussed, so are the advancement in forecasting, preparation, as well as tragic mistakes and outright racism in dealing with the storms and the aftermath. A fascinating read. Librarians/booksellers: A must purchase for your meteorology fans. (Note: The date for Katrina landfall is incorrectly identified as 1992 at one point--hopefully, this will be caught before actual publication.) Many thanks to Liveright and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jo Oehrlein

    I hadn't realized that much of our ability to forecast hurricanes is very very recent (from the 70s). Before satellites, there was no good way to follow a hurricane from inception as a tropical wave and watch it develop as it comes across the Atlantic. We frequently didn't have notice of the hurricane until it was almost on shore. Works through discoveries about hurricanes that include their rotation, how they develop and strengthen, the associated drop in pressure, and the presence of an eye. In I hadn't realized that much of our ability to forecast hurricanes is very very recent (from the 70s). Before satellites, there was no good way to follow a hurricane from inception as a tropical wave and watch it develop as it comes across the Atlantic. We frequently didn't have notice of the hurricane until it was almost on shore. Works through discoveries about hurricanes that include their rotation, how they develop and strengthen, the associated drop in pressure, and the presence of an eye. In science covers hurricane hunters, satellites, radar, and various forecasting models. In history, it covers the most destructive hurricanes from 500 years ago to now. This would be a great read in an American History course and ties in to "regular" American history at many points.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anja

    The author does a good job of taking us through the history or hurricanes, and the progression of ideas, technology, and tracking of these massive storms as well which puts many things into perspective. If I was slightly disappointed that more wasn't said about more recent hurricanes, it was tempered by the fact that I learned a lot about further historical hurricanes I'd never before heard of. And that many current hurricanes have their own in-depth biographies from a variety of angles. I was p The author does a good job of taking us through the history or hurricanes, and the progression of ideas, technology, and tracking of these massive storms as well which puts many things into perspective. If I was slightly disappointed that more wasn't said about more recent hurricanes, it was tempered by the fact that I learned a lot about further historical hurricanes I'd never before heard of. And that many current hurricanes have their own in-depth biographies from a variety of angles. I was pleasantly surprised, since I hadn't read this author's work before, to see acknowledgement of racism, bad policies, and classism/poverty discussed in relationship to who was affected by hurricanes as well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    I would recommend this book to everyone in the US who's living in an area that could be impacted by a hurricane, which would be all of the East Coast, the Gulf Coast and inland areas in the path of storms. Which is to say, most of the eastern and southern US. I've been through my share of hurricanes, lived on the Florida coast and now inland Florida. I take these storms seriously...and they're only getting worse. Eric Jay Dolin has written a fast paced, readable, informative book that explains w I would recommend this book to everyone in the US who's living in an area that could be impacted by a hurricane, which would be all of the East Coast, the Gulf Coast and inland areas in the path of storms. Which is to say, most of the eastern and southern US. I've been through my share of hurricanes, lived on the Florida coast and now inland Florida. I take these storms seriously...and they're only getting worse. Eric Jay Dolin has written a fast paced, readable, informative book that explains why these storms are predictable...to a degree...and why we can't rely on those predictions 100% of the time to assume we're out of harm's way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    CleverBaggins

    Ok seriously. I loved this book. It covers such a range of things all centered around hurricanes. The author covers parts of america's history I didn't know and the parts you were taught like Columbus 'discovering' america, he states who discovered it all first and why it's told wrong. He doesn't let the sexist or racist parts of history stand. The hurricanes themselves were amazing to read about. This isn't just a lay out of a hurricane's stats or dramatic stories of death and survival but a ca Ok seriously. I loved this book. It covers such a range of things all centered around hurricanes. The author covers parts of america's history I didn't know and the parts you were taught like Columbus 'discovering' america, he states who discovered it all first and why it's told wrong. He doesn't let the sexist or racist parts of history stand. The hurricanes themselves were amazing to read about. This isn't just a lay out of a hurricane's stats or dramatic stories of death and survival but a carefully balanced combo of both. The only thing that stopped this from having 5 stars from me was a chapter in the middle that seemed to go off on a tangent about morse code and things a little too far from the subject, I thought, that I would've been happier with about half as much about. This is a keeper though and the writing good enough that I'll look up his other titles.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    A Great Historical Examination of Hurricanes Another great read by Eric Jay Dolin who focuses on the major hurricanes that have occurred over the last five hundred years, or only providing comprehensive meteorological and weather information but also the historical ramifications of many of the hurricanes covered. The first person and eye witness accounts interwoven with the history and development of cities and towns as well as commerce that negatively impacted human lives as well as wiped out in A Great Historical Examination of Hurricanes Another great read by Eric Jay Dolin who focuses on the major hurricanes that have occurred over the last five hundred years, or only providing comprehensive meteorological and weather information but also the historical ramifications of many of the hurricanes covered. The first person and eye witness accounts interwoven with the history and development of cities and towns as well as commerce that negatively impacted human lives as well as wiped out infrastructure reads somewhat like Timothy Egan’s “The Worst Hard Time” Highly Recommend!!

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