Empire of Sin re-creates the remarkable story of New Orleans’ thirty-years war against itself, pitting the city’s elite “better half” against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime. This early-20th-century battle centers on one man: Tom Anderson, the undisputed czar of the city's Storyville vice district, who fights desperately to keep his empire intact as it faces onslaughts from all sides. Surrounding him are the stories of flamboyant prostitutes, crusading moral reformers, dissolute jazzmen, ruthless Mafiosi, venal politicians, and one extremely violent serial killer, all battling for primacy in a wild and wicked city unlike any other in the world.
When 1919 began, the city of Chicago seemed on the verge of transformation. Modernizers had an audacious, expensive plan to turn the city from a brawling, unglamorous place into "the Metropolis of the World." But just as the dream seemed within reach, pandemonium broke loose and the city's highest ambitions were suddenly under attack by the same unbridled energies that had given birth to them in the first place.
It began on a balmy Monday afternoon when a blimp in flames crashed through the roof of a busy downtown bank, incinerating those inside. Within days, a racial incident at a hot, crowded South Side beach spiraled into one of the worst urban riots in American history, followed by a transit strike that paralyzed the city. Then, when it seemed as if things could get no worse, police searching for a six-year-old girl discovered her body in a dark North Side basement.
Meticulously researched and expertly paced, City of Scoundrels captures the tumultuous birth of the modern American city, with all of its light and dark aspects in vivid relief.
The city in question is London in the 1690s; but it is also New York in the 1990s. The new technologies are diving bells, pneumatic winches, and "sucking-worm" drainage engines; but they are also wireless telecommunication devices, patented biotechnology processes, and revolutionary electronic Internet routers. Only the sense of unlimited possibility remains the same throughout.
Unfolding simultaneously in two distant--but remarkably similar--periods of history, Extravagance is a comic, pictaresque novel of financial mania, the story of a world gripped by a terminal case of irrational exuberance. Navigating the perils of both eras is a single cast of characters: Will himself, a young man on the make, eager to do whatever it takes to make his fortune; Will's uncle (and sponsor) Gilbert Hawking, a shrewd businessman with one foot in the Old Economy and one in the New; Benjamin Fletcher, the developer of a pioneering new technology destined to set the world on fire; and Theodore Witherspoon, the cheerfully unscrupulous wizard of the financial markets who promises to make them all wealthy beyond their dreams.
Meanwhile, Will's aspirations are complicated by his pursuit of Ben Fletcher's sister, Eliza, the gorgeous and disconcertingly aggressive woman who is as desirable as she is elusive. Can Will succeed in his efforts to win both Eliza and the fortune that her brother's new technology seems likely to bring him? And can he make it all happen before the general euphoria of the age reaches its inevitable climax?
Extravagance is a uniquely conceived work of high comic entertainment -- an ultra-smart time machine of a novel that proves that both love and greed are timeless.
From the Hardcover edition.
On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men to fight the fires, but no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them. Egan recreates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force, and the larger story of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, that follows is equally resonant. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by every citizen. Even as TR's national forests were smoldering they were saved: The heroism shown by his rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service in ways we can still witness today.
This e-book includes a sample chapter of SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER.
In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.
In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.
The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.
The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes that sear themselves into the mind's eye, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in their terrifying battle for survival.
Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it's a miracle—and a testament to their bravery—that any came home to tell their tales at all.
Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman have seamlessly woven together their extensive research and firsthand interviews to create an unforgettable tale of heroism, triumph, and tragedy, one that truly tells of the Coast Guard's finest hours.
In 1904, the brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler, partner to John D. Rockefeller, dreamed of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing a staggering 153 miles of open ocean—an engineering challenge beyond even that of the Panama Canal. Many considered the project impossible, but build it they did. The railroad stood as a magnificent achievement for more than twenty-two years, heralded as “the Eighth Wonder of the World,” until its total destruction in 1935's deadly storm of the century.
In Last Train to Paradise, Standiford celebrates this crowning achievement of Gilded Age ambition, bringing to life a sweeping tale of the powerful forces of human ingenuity colliding with the even greater forces of nature’s wrath.
They are stories of the dead and the living, stories of survivors and believers, stories of hope and despair. And stories about refrigerators.
Dead in Attic freeze-frames New Orleans, caught between an old era and a new, during its most desperate time, as it struggles out of the floodwaters and wills itself back to life.
April 27, 2011 was the climax of a three-day superstorm that unleashed terror from Arkansas to New York. Entire communities were flattened, whole neighborhoods erased. Tornadoes left scars across the land so wide they could be seen from space. But from terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes—neighbors and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth.
“Armchair storm chasers will find much to savor in this grippingly detailed, real-time chronicle of nature gone awry” (Kirkus Reviews) set in Alabama, the heart of Dixie Alley where there are more tornado fatalities than anywhere else in the US. With powerful emotion and captivating detail, journalist Kim Cross expertly weaves together science and heartrending human stories. For some, it’s a story of survival; for others it’s the story of their last hours.
Cross’s immersive reporting and dramatic storytelling catapult you to the center of the very worst hit areas, where thousands of ordinary people witnessed the sky falling around them. Yet from the disaster rises a redemptive message that’s just as real: in times of trouble, the things that tear our world apart reveal what holds us together.
On the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny; and then, over the ensuing years, as she emerges reluctantly, slowly allowing her memory to take her back through the rich and joyous life she’s mourning, from her family’s home in London, to the birth of her children, to the year she met her English husband at Cambridge, to her childhood in Colombo; all the while learning the difficult balance between the almost unbearable reminders of her loss and the need to keep her family, somehow, still alive within her.
From the Hardcover edition.
Forest and wildland fires are growing larger, more numerous, and deadlier every year — record drought conditions, decades of forestry mismanagement, and the increasing encroachment of residential housing into the wilderness have combined to create a powder keg that threatens millions of acres and thousands of lives every year. One select group of men and women are part of America's front-line defense: smokejumpers. The smokejumper program operates through both the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Though they are tremendously skilled and only highly experienced and able wildland firefighters are accepted into the training program, being a smokejumper remains an art that can only be learned on the job. Forest fires often behave in unpredictable ways: spreading almost instantaneously, shooting downhill behind a stiff tailwind, or even flowing like a liquid. In this extraordinarily rare memoir by an active-duty jumper, Jason Ramos takes readers into his exhilarating and dangerous world, explores smokejumping’s remarkable history, and explains why their services are more essential than ever before.
Seventy-foot waves batter a torn life raft 250 miles out to sea in one of the world’s most dangerous places, the Gulf Stream. Hanging on to the raft are three men, a Canadian, a Brit, and their captain, JP de Lutz, a dual citizen of America and France. Their capsized forty-seven-foot sailboat has filled with water and disappeared below the tempestuous sea. The giant waves repeatedly toss the men out of their tiny vessel, and JP, with nine broken ribs, is hypothermic and on the verge of death. The captain, however, is a remarkably tough character, having survived a brutal boyhood, and now he must rely on the same inner strength to outlast the storm.
Trying to reach these survivors before it’s too late are four brave Coast Guardsmen battling hurricane- force winds in their Jayhawk helicopter. They know the waves will be extreme, but when they arrive they are astounded to find that the monstrous seas have waves reaching eighty feet. Lowering the wind-whipped helicopter to drop a rescue swimmer into such chaos will be extremely dangerous. The pilots wonder if they have a realistic chance of saving the sailors clinging to the broken life raft, and if they will be able to even retrieve their own rescue swimmer from the towering seas. Once they commit to the rescue, they find themselves in almost as much trouble as the survivors, facing one life-and-death moment after the next.
Also caught in the storm are three other boats, each one in a Mayday situation. Of the ten people on these boats, only six will ever see land again.
Spellbinding, harrowing, and meticulously researched, A Storm Too Soon is a vivid account about the powerful collision between the forces of nature and the human will to survive. Author Michael J. Tougias, known for his fast-paced writing style and character-driven stories, tells this true saga in the present tense to give the reader a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat immediacy. A Storm Too Soon is Tougias at his masterful best and a heart-pounding narrative of survival, the power of the human spirit, and one of the most incredible rescues ever attempted.
In this riveting narrative, Childs makes clear that ours is not a stable planet, that it is prone to sudden, violent natural disasters and extremes of climate. Alternate futures, many not so pretty, are constantly waiting in the wings. Childs refutes the idea of an apocalyptic end to the earth and finds clues to its more inevitable end in some of the most physically challenging places on the globe. He travels from the deserts of Chile, the driest in the world, to the genetic wasteland of central Iowa to the site of the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea, uncovering the micro-cataclysms that predict the macro: forthcoming ice ages, super-volcanoes, and the conclusion of planetary life cycles. Childs delivers a sensual feast in his descriptions of the natural world and a bounty of unequivocal science that provides us with an unprecedented understanding of our future.
In May 2005, Tom Tighe, captain of a forty-five-foot-long sailboat named the Almeisan, and his first mate, Loch Reidy, welcomed three new crewmembers for a five-day voyage from Connecticut across the blue waters of the Gulf Stream to sun-drenched Bermuda. The new crew included forty-six-year-old Kathy Gilchrist, seventy-year-old Ron Burd, and thirty-four-year-old Chris Ferrer. Although Tighe had made the trip forty-eight times, with Reidy accompanying him on twenty of those voyages, the rest of the crew had joined to learn more about offshore sailing.
Four days into the voyage, an enormous storm struck, sweeping two of the crew into the towering sea. The remaining crewmembers managed to stay aboard the vessel as it was slowly torn apart by the rampaging ocean. Overboard! follows the simultaneous desperate struggles of both those still on the boat and those fighting for their lives in the sea.
The Coast Guard, alerted to the Almeisan’s distress, rushed to the storm-tossed scene. Their ensuing search and rescue mission proved so spectacularly difficult and dangerous that it was later selected—from among thousands of incidents—as the Guard’s search and rescue case of the year. Highly trained helicopter pilots and rescue swimmers alike found themselves in almost as much trouble as those trapped by the ferocious ocean.
By turns tragic, thrilling, and deeply inspiring, Overboard! is a riveting, fast-paced story of death and survival at sea—amazing, unforgettable, and all true.
The world we live in is an unstable one. From natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods of biblical proportions to concerns about the economic downturn and government shutdown, the hits just keep on coming. At the same time, the power grid is incredibly fragile. Our dependency on widely distributed long distance systems for power, medicine, and food makes our society susceptible to attack, whether by foreign or domestic enemies, or the weather. No matter the concern, the solutions are the same. Scott Hunt, the owner of Practical Preppers, and an experienced engineer, homesteader, and pastor, offers readers a complete and detailed guide to sustainable living. With The Practical Preppers Complete Guide to Disaster Preparedness, anyone can learn how to:
- Secure a water source-even in an urban area
- Grow and preserve food
- Set up an alternative energy supply
- Maintain a comfortable shelter -including alternative cooking and sanitation methods during a long power outage
- Bug out-what to include in your bug out bag and how to leave
- Prepare for medical issues
- Deal with security concerns
Preparing for disruption of services in an emergency is a noble venture which gives peace of mind. This book will empower readers of all skill levels and resources to survive and achieve an independent, sustainable lifestyle.
The book begins by tracing the historical development of emergency management from the 1800s to the present world of homeland security. It then discusses the hazards faced by emergency management and the methods of assessing hazard risk; the function of mitigation and the strategies and programs emergency management or other disciplines use to reduce the impact of disasters; and emergency management preparedness.
The book also covers the importance of communication in the emergency management of the twenty-first century; the functions and processes of disaster response; government and voluntary programs aimed at helping people and communities rebuild in the aftermath of a disaster; and international emergency management. It also addresses the impact of September 11, 2001 on traditional perceptions of emergency management; and emergency management in the post-9/11, post-Katrina environment.
* Expanded coverage of risk management * Enhanced coverage of disaster communications, including social networking sites like Twitter * More material on mitigation of disasters * Up-to-date information on the role of FEMA in the Obama administration
**Kansas City Star Best Books of the Year (2013)**
A passionate student of Japanese poetry, theater, and art for much of her life, Gretel Ehrlich felt compelled to return to the earthquake-and-tsunami-devastated Tohoku coast to bear witness, listen to survivors, and experience their terror and exhilaration in villages and towns where all shelter and hope seemed lost. In an eloquent narrative that blends strong reportage, poetic observation, and deeply felt reflection, she takes us into the upside-down world of northeastern Japan, where nothing is certain and where the boundaries between living and dying have been erased by water.
The stories of rice farmers, monks, and wanderers; of fishermen who drove their boats up the steep wall of the wave; and of an eighty-four-year-old geisha who survived the tsunami to hand down a song that only she still remembered are both harrowing and inspirational. Facing death, facing life, and coming to terms with impermanence are equally compelling in a landscape of surreal desolation, as the ghostly specter of Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear power complex, spews radiation into the ocean and air. Facing the Wave is a testament to the buoyancy, spirit, humor, and strong-mindedness of those who must find their way in a suddenly shattered world.
From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the Oklahoma Book Award// Winner of the American Meteorological Society’s Louis J. Battan Award
An acclaimed reporter returns to her hometown after the worst twister on record and emerges with a suspenseful story of human courage in the face of natural disaster.
On May 20, 2013, the worst tornado on record landed a direct hit on the town of Moore, on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, levelling neighborhoods, sending farm animals flying, and destroying a school while the children cowered inside. Holly Bailey went back both as a journalist and a hometown girl, speaking to the teachers who put their lives at risk as they struggled to comfort their students; to the mayor and first responders who waded through the debris while the storm still raged; to the scientists and meteorologists who have dedicated their lives to understanding tornadoes but still can’t determine when one will land with any degree of certainty and are haunted by every death they might have prevented; to the storm chasers who pursue level 5 twisters with a combination of gadgetry, courage and adrenaline; and to the shell shocked residents of Moore, who rose to the occasion that day with countless acts of selfless courage. An intense and inspiring account of what happened on that fateful day, The Mercy of the Sky Bailey does for the Oklahoma flatlands what Sebastian Junger did for Gloucester, Massachusetts, in The Perfect Storm, telling the dramatic story of a town that must survive the elements—or die.
“The book is excellent – well researched, well told, with a strong narrative that reads like a disaster novel… It’s difficult to imagine that anyone other than an Okie could tell the story so confidently and so well.” – The Oklahoman
“This gripping book tells the story of one resilient Oklahoma town and the immense killer tornado that ripped through it. Holly Bailey brings together riveting science, human drama, courage, tragedy, and redemption to create a quintessential American story. Powerful and moving.” – Douglas Presenton, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of The Monster of Florence
“Bailey is a brilliant storyteller. She brings you to the center of the storm – and it’s terrifying. She makes you feel a community’s loss – and it’s devastating. And she brings you inside people’s lives as they heal – and it’s inspiring.” – David Greene, host of NPR’s Morning Edition
From the Hardcover edition.
As a journalist and associate editor of Fortune magazine who covered the demise of Penn Central and the creation of Conrail, Rush Loving often had a front row seat to the foibles and follies of this group of men. He uncovers intrigue, greed, lust for power, boardroom battles, and takeover wars and turns them into a page-turning story for readers.
Included is the story of how the chairman of CSX Corporation, who later became George W. Bush’s Treasury secretary, was inept as a manager but managed to make millions for himself while his company drifted in chaos. Men such as he were shy of scruples, yet there were also those who loved trains and railroading, and who played key roles in reshaping transportation in the northeastern United States. This book will delight not only the rail fan, but anyone interested in American business and history.
Two of the tunnels were built by the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, a company headed by William Gibbs McAdoo, a man who later served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and even mounted a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination at one point. McAdoo's H&M remains in service today as the PATH System of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The other tunnel was opened in 1910 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, led to the magnificent Penn Station on Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street, and remains in daily service today for both Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.
The author has updated this new edition with additional photographs, a concluding chapter on recent developments, and a Preface that recounts the last trains of September to the World Trade Center Terminal.
Using dozens of interview and audiotapes that recorded every word exchanged between Quirk and the Coast Guard, Tougias has written a devastating, true account of bravery and death at sea, in Ten Hours Until Dawn.
For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.
It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
No invention, not even the Internet, has ever transformed the way the world traveled, worked, thought, fought, ate, drank, made love--you name it--the way the train did.
From the historic moment in September 1830 when the first train chuffed between Liverpool and Manchester, UK, there was a race to lay down tracks across the planet. Adventurers, visionaries, and rogues were attracted to grandiose projects linking distant corners of the globe in a quest for wealth, power, and national unity. The achievements were heroic: India's railway network was the biggest public works project since the building of the pyramids. But the human costs were huge. In the 1850s, six thousand workers died during the construction of the Panama railway, the world's first transcontinental line--120 for each mile of railroad. The cadavers were pickled and sold to medical schools around the world to defray costs. But for the shareholders, there were fortunes to be made, and at their peak, the railroads represented luxury almost beyond belief.
The Iron Road tells of great invention, grand vision, mind-boggling engineering, military strategy, colonial ambition, groundbreaking trade changes, and social impact--all the ways that railroads utterly changed the world in which we live.
On the afternoon of September 8, 1900, two-hundred-mile-per-hour winds and fifteen-foot waves slammed into Galveston, the booming port city on Texas’s Gulf Coast. By dawn the next day, the city that hours earlier had stood as a symbol of America’s growth and expansion was now gone. Shattered, grief-stricken survivors emerged to witness a level of destruction never before seen: Eight thousand corpses littered the streets and were buried under the massive wreckage. Rushing water had lifted buildings from their foundations, smashing them into pieces, while wind gusts had upended steel girders and trestles, driving them through house walls and into sidewalks. No race or class was spared its wrath. In less than twenty-four hours, a single storm had destroyed a major American metropolis—and awakened a nation to the terrifying power of nature.
Blending an unforgettable cast of characters, accessible weather science, and deep historical research into a sweeping and dramatic narrative, The Storm of the Century brings this legendary hurricane and its aftermath into fresh focus. No other natural disaster has ever matched the havoc caused by the awesome mix of winds, rain, and flooding that devastated Galveston and shocked a young, optimistic nation on the cusp of modernity. Exploring the impact of the tragedy on a rising country’s confidence—the trauma of the loss and the determination of the response—Al Roker illuminates the United States’s character at the dawn of the “American Century,” while also underlining the fact that no matter how mighty they may become, all nations must respect the ferocious potential of our natural environment.
Illustrated with Â more than 400 historical and modern photographs and period advertisements, The Complete Book of North American Railroading takes readers back to the birth of the railroads, then travels through the â€œGolden Ageâ€? from 1900 to 1950 and on to the railways of our day. Locomotives, from steam to electric and diesel; passenger travel; freight operations; and infrastructure, including stations, bridges, depots, roundhouse, railyards, and signaling are all thoroughly examined and amply illustrated. Authors Kevin EuDaly and Mike Schafer delve into the history, the culture, and the technology of the railroads as they have carried travelers across the continent, brought goods to market, connected businesses in peacetime and war, and enriched the canon of American folklore and the quality of everyday life.
A true story of catastrophe and survival at sea, Fatal Forecast is a spellbinding moment-by-moment account of seventy-two hours in the lives of eight young fishermen, some of whom would never set foot on dry land again.
On the morning of November 21, 1980, two small Massachusetts lobster boats set out for Georges Bank, a bountiful but perilous fishing ground 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. The National Weather Service had forecast typical fall weather, and the young, rugged crewmen aboard the Sea Fever and the Fair Wind had made dozens of similar trips that season. They had no reason to expect that this trip would be any different.
But the only weather buoy on Georges Bank was malfunctioning, and the National Weather Service had failed to share this fact with the fishermen who depended on its forecasts. As the two small boats headed out to sea, a colossal storm was brewing to the southeast, a furious maelstrom the National Weather Service did not accurately locate until the boats were already caught in the storm's grip, trapped in the treacherous waters of Georges Bank.
Battered by sixty-foot waves and hurricane-force winds, the crews of the Fair Wind and the Sea Fever (captained by Peter Brown, whose father owned the Andrea Gail of Perfect Storm fame) struggled heroically to keep their vessels afloat. But the storm soon severely crippled one boat and overturned the other, trapping its crew inside.
Meticulously researched and vividly told, Fatal Forecast is first and foremost a tale of miraculous survival. Most amazing is the story of Ernie Hazzard, who managed to crawl inside a tiny inflatable life raft and then spent more than fifty terrifying hours adrift on the stormy open sea. By turns tragic, thrilling, and inspiring, Ernie's story deserves a place among the greatest survival tales ever told.
Equally riveting are the stories of the brave men and women from the Coast Guard and the crew of a nearby fishing boat who imperiled their own lives that day in order to save the lives of others.
As gripping and harrowing as The Perfect Storm - but with a miracle ending - Fatal Forecast is an unforgettable true story about the collision of two spectacular forces: the brutality of nature and the human will to survive.
As the seventy-fifth anniversary of the catastrophe approaches, it remains the deadliest school disaster in U.S. history. Few, however, know of this historic tragedy, and no book, until now, has chronicled the explosion, its cause, its victims, and the aftermath.
Gone at 3:17 is a true story of what can happen when school officials make bad decisions. To save money on heating the school building, the trustees had authorized workers to tap into a pipeline carrying “waste” natural gas produced by a gasoline refinery. The explosion led to laws that now require gas companies to add the familiar pungent odor. The knowledge that the tragedy could have been prevented added immeasurably to the heartbreak experienced by the survivors and the victims’ families. The town would never be the same.
Using interviews, testimony from survivors, and archival newspaper files, Gone at 3:17 puts readers inside the shop class to witness the spark that ignited the gas. Many of those interviewed during twenty years of research are no longer living, but their acts of heroism and stories of survival live on in this meticulously documented and extensively illustrated book.
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers—bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio—changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education and little money never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off, they risked being killed.
In this “enjoyable, fast-paced tale” (The Economist), master historian David McCullough “shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly” (The Washington Post) and “captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished” (The Wall Street Journal). He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. Essential reading, this is “a story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency…about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished…The Wright Brothers soars” (The New York Times Book Review).
fire? Or you are the victim of a terrorist attack? Would you make the right
decision to save yourself and the lives of others? Crisis Survival is a
complete handbook to any crisis that may suddenly arise, from food or water
shortages, to natural disasters, to plane crashes and hostage situations. A
crisis might last a few hours, days, or even years – with this book you can be
ready for any eventuality. With easy-to-follow illustrations and handy
lists of key information, Crisis Survival is the definitive crisis survival
guide for anyone wanting to be ready for anything – it could literally save
The Thirtymile fire in the remote North Cascade range near the Canadian border in Washington began as a simple mop-up operation. In a few hours, a series of catastrophic errors led to the entrapment and deaths of four members of the fire crew—two teen-age girls and two young men. Each had brought order and meaning to their lives by joining the fire world. Then the very flames they pursued turned on them, extinguishing their lives. When the victims were blamed for their own deaths, the charge brought a storm of controversy that undermined the firefighting community.
Continuing a tradition established in his previous books, and by his father Norman's Young Men and Fire, John N. Maclean serves as an unflinching guide to the rogue fire's unexpected violence—which is almost matched by the passions released by the official verdict of the blaze. Weaving together the astonishing stories told by the witnesses, the victims' family members, and the official reports, Maclean produces a dramatic narrative of a catastrophe that has changed the way fire is fought. More than anything, it is a story of humanity at risk when wildfire, ancient and unpredictable, breaks loose
The Moffat Line tells the story of David Moffat and the impossible dream that led to the 1927 completion of the Moffat Tunnel. The story is also about the men who drove the trains and built and operated the railroad under incredible weather and equipment challengesday and night. Together, Moffats vision and the exploits of the railroad workers combine to produce a fascinating chapter in the history of the American West.
Solar flares—brief bursts of radiation from our sun—have always existed and have never been particularly dangerous. Nature hasn’t changed. But we have. By making our world so dependent on electricity delivered by huge, unprotected power grids we have inadvertently placed humanity at terrible risk. As bestselling author Whitley Strieber explores in this urgent new work, a powerful solar flare could demolish our electrical delivery system, wiping away centuries of civilization in minutes and drastically changing our world.
Such a scenario is altogether plausible—and it is the single most dangerous single thing that could happen to our civilization, more dangerous than the most massive earthquake or volcano, more dangerous than climate change, more dangerous even than nuclear war. What is worse, solar flares of a now-dangerous intensity are not all that uncommon; and not only that, our electrical and electronic infrastructure is becoming so extensive, and thus so fragile, that smaller and smaller solar flares can pose more and more serious hazards.
Due to the astonishing unwillingness of power companies to cooperate, good programs that would make us safer, and that are supported by both political parties, have been routinely prevented from being enacted.
In Solar Flares: What You Need to Know, Strieber reveals the dangers behind solar flares, tracks the disastrous damage they could cause, surveys what they would do to our world in the here-and-now, and explains what nations and individuals must do to prepare for them.
Building the city's first subway in the early years of the twentieth century required delicate collaboration between public and private interests and called for the expenditure of considerable sums of both public and private money. The book introduces us to Abram S. Hewitt, a late nineteenth-century mayor of New York City. It was Hewitt who realized that, while private capital alone had been perfectly adequate for building elevated rapid transit lines in New York as early as the 1870s, the more costly construction of underground rapid transit lines was far beyond the ability of private corporations to finance. Hewitt set in motion a chain of events that sanctioned the use of public funds for subway construction, with the completed facility then to be leased to a private company for day-to-day operation.
The private firm that emerged, both to build and to operate the first subway in New York, was called the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, a name that would later be rendered more crisply as the IRT. The City of New York and the Interborough Rapid transit Company inaugurated service over the city's first subway line on Thursday afternoon, October 27, 1904. Mayor George B. McClellan, son of the Civil War general, took the controls of the first ceremonial train at City Hall Station in downtown Manhattan and headed north. In one way or another, the subway has been going ever since.
The book also presents important tabular and statistical information, as well as clear and concise narrative descriptions of technical details.
On the afternoon of July 26, 2003, six vacationing mountain climbers ascended the peak of the Grand Teton in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Rain and colliding air currents blew in, and soon a massive electrical charge began to build. As the group began to retreat from its location, a colossal lightning bolt struck and pounded through the body of every climber. One of the six died instantly, one lay critically injured next to her body, and four dangled perilously into the chasm below. In riveting, page-turning prose, veteran journalist Jennifer Woodlief tells the story of the climb, the arrival of the storm, and the unprecedented rescue by the Jenny Lake Rangers, one of the most experienced climbing search-and-rescue teams in the country.
Against the dramatic landscape of the Teton Range, Woodlief brings to life the grueling task of the rangers, a band of colorful characters who tackle one of the riskiest, most physically demanding jobs in the world. By turns terrifying and exhilarating, A Bolt from the Blue is both a testament to human courage and an astonishing journey into one of history’s most dangerous mountain rescues.
The heroes of this saga are the local people and local officials. In often moving accounts, the book addresses the Mississippi Gulf Coast's long struggle to remove a record-setting volume of debris and get on with the rebuilding of homes, schools, jobs, and public infrastructure. Along the way readers are offered insights into the politics of recovery funding and the bureaucratic bungling and hubris that afflicted the storm response and complicated and delayed the work of recovery. Still, there are ample accounts of things done well, and a moving chapter gives us a feel for the psychological, spiritual, and material impact of the eight hundred thousand people from across the nation who gave of themselves as volunteers in the Mississippi recovery effort.
Not until 1999—the fiftieth anniversary of the fire—did people begin to talk openly about Mann Gulch. Matthews has garnered those thoughts to reveal how devastating the fire was to the firefighters’ family members, coworkers, and friends. In retelling the story of Mann Gulch, he draws on the testimony of the three survivors—including never-before-published insights from the last living member of the team—and interviews with former smoke jumpers of that era. The result is a moment-by-moment, heart-stopping re-creation of events.
The Mann Gulch tragedy provoked the Forest Service to develop safety equipment and training programs, but fighting wildfires is still a perilous job.
Matthews’ stirring account renews our respect for one of nature’s primal forces. A heartbreakingly human story, it still haunts a firefighting community—and keeps today’s firefighters forever on guard.
In his wide-ranging and entertaining new book, Tom Zoellner—coauthor of the New York Times–bestselling An Ordinary Man—travels the globe to tell the story of the sociological and economic impact of the railway technology that transformed the world—and could very well change it again. From the frigid trans-Siberian railroad to the antiquated Indian Railways to the Japanese-style bullet trains, Zoellner offers a stirring story of this most indispensable form of travel. A masterful narrative history, Train also explores the sleek elegance of railroads and their hypnotizing rhythms, and explains how locomotives became living symbols of sex, death, power, and romance.
Mark M. Smith offers three highly original histories of the storm's impact in southern Mississippi. In the first essay Smith examines the sensory experience and impact of the hurricane--how the storm rearranged and challenged residents' senses of smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste. The second essay explains the way key federal officials linked the question of hurricane relief and the desegregation of Mississippi's public schools. Smith concludes by considering the political economy of short- and long-term disaster recovery, returning to issues of race and class.
Camille, 1969 offers stories of survival and experience, of the tenacity of social justice in the face of a natural disaster, and of how recovery from Camille worked for some but did not work for others. Throughout these essays are lessons about how we might learn from the past in planning for recovery from natural disasters in the future.
Making and maintaining an accurate flood map is neither simple nor inexpensive. Even after an investment of more than $1 billion to take flood maps into the digital world, only 21 percent of the population has maps that meet or exceed national flood hazard data quality thresholds. Even when floodplains are mapped with high accuracy, land development and natural changes to the landscape or hydrologic systems create the need for continuous map maintenance and updates.
Mapping the Zone examines the factors that affect flood map accuracy, assesses the benefits and costs of more accurate flood maps, and recommends ways to improve flood mapping, communication, and management of flood-related data.
General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost seventy years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident--and may very well have been an act of assassination. Killing Patton takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton's tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.
Having spent decades trying to keep avalanches and people apart, Fredston brings them together unforgettably in Snowstruck. From a rare store of personal experience, she conveys a panorama of perspectives: a skier making what may prove his final decision, a victim buried so tightly that he can't move a finger, rescuers racing both time and weather, forecasters treading the line between reasonable risk and danger. Seamlessly interweaving these accounts, Fredston brings to life the awesome forces of nature that can turn the mountains deadly-and the equally inexorable forces of human nature that lure us time and again into treacherous terrain.
The notorious Central Pacific Railroad riveted the attention of two great American writers: Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris. In The Great American Railroad War, Dennis Drabelle tells a classic story of corporate greed vs. the power of the pen. The Central Pacific Railroad accepted US Government loans; but, when the loans fell due, the last surviving founder of the railroad avoided repayment. Bierce, at the behest of his boss William Randolph Hearst, swung into action writing over sixty stinging articles that became a signal achievement in American journalism. Later, Norris focused the first volume of his trilogy, The Octopus, on the freight cars of a thinly disguised version of the Central Pacific.
The Great American Railroad War is a lively chapter of US history pitting two of America's greatest writers against one of America's most powerful corporations.
"Readers with interests in western American history or the origins of today’s political quagmires will find much to relish. " - Publishers Weekly
The Cat Encyclopedia is a celebration of all things feline, with a fully illustrated catalog of cat breeds including those recognized by TICA, CFA, GCCF and FIFe. The Cat Encyclopedia contains everything you need to know about cats in one easy-reference volume.
After combing libraries and archives, grilling county historians, trekking to flood sites, and collecting scores of graphic photographs, Jonathan Burnett chose twenty-eight floods from around the state to create this narrative of a century of disastrous events. Beginning with the famous Austin dam break of 1900 and ending with the historic 2002 flooding in the Hill Country, Burnett chronicles the causes and courses of these catastrophic floods as well as their costs in material damage and human lives.
Dramatic photographs of each event enhance the harrowing accounts of danger spawned by nature on a rampage. Together, the stories and the pictures give readers a vivid and lasting image of the power and unpredictability of flash floods in Texas.
Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.