Natural Disaster

Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938

By R.A. Scotti

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On September 21, 1938, the fastest hurricane on record caught the Northeast by surprise and left a wake of death and destruction across seven states. Traveling at record speeds, the storm raced up the Atlantic coast, reaching New York and New England ahead of hurricane warnings and striking with such intensity that seismographs in Alaska registered the impact.

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Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883

By Simon Winchester

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"When Krakatoa, an island volcano off the coast of Java, erupted on August 27, 1883, it spewed debris 24 miles into the air, was heard 4000 miles away, and caused barometers throughout Europe to go berserk. Tsunamis destroyed 165 villages and killed 36,417 people, but... the eruption's devastating effects were not only environmental ... but also political. Winchester notes that prior to the eruption, a Javanese Muslim priest had predicted that floods, blood-colored rain, volcanic eruptions, and death would precede the beginning of a holy war against the infidel. The resulting rash of murderous attacks by fundamentalist Muslims against European colonists living in their midst, he argues, was also a reaction to the escalating threat of Western imperialism into Muslim territory".
(From Library Journal)

Also available on audio and in a children's edition.

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Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

By Erik Larson

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"In 1900, Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss. Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time."

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A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

By Simon Winchester

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Winchester brings his storytelling abilities, as well as his understanding of geology, to the extraordinary San Francisco Earthquake, exploring not only what happened in northern California in 1906 that leveled a city symbolic of America's relentless western expansion, but what we have learned since about the geological underpinnings that caused the earthquake.

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One Amazing Thing by C. B. Divakaruni

One Amazing Thing by C. B. Divakaruni

Do you ever wonder how you might react under extreme duress? Would you rise to the occasion and become an example to those struggling around you or would you withdraw and cower in fear? In One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, nine everyday men and women are put to that exact test as their lives change over the course of one disastrous event.

In advance of a planned trip to India, the above-mentioned people—most solo, but several in pairs—have all chosen this day to go to the consulate in California to obtain a travel visa. As with many bureaucratic departments, the wait is interminable. Graduate student Uma is preparing to visit her parents who have recently moved back to India. In her irritation with the long delay, she ignores the first slight rumble. The second quake, however, rips apart what was only seconds earlier a solid building.