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

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

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

Title:A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781631495274
Format Type:

    A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes Reviews

  • Nancy Oakes

    4.5 rounded upfull post herehttp://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...

  • 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 B...

  • 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 f...

  • 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 dow...

  • 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 ar...

  • 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...

  • Jennifer Coffey

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

  • Grace

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

  • 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...

  • 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 fi...