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.
On Thursday, October 25, 2012, Captain Robin Walbridge made the fateful decision to sail Bounty from New London, Connecticut, to St. Petersburg, Florida. Walbridge knew that a hurricane was forecast, yet he was determined to sail. The captain told the crew that anyone could leave the ship before it sailed. No one took the captain up on his offer.
Four days into the voyage, Superstorm Sandy made an almost direct hit on the ship. A few hours later, the ship suddenly overturned ninety miles off the North Carolina coast in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” sending the crew tumbling into an ocean filled with towering thirty-foot waves. The coast guard then launched one of the most complex and massive rescues in its history.
In the uproar heard across American media in the days following, a single question persisted: Why did the captain decide to sail? Through hundreds of hours of interviews with the crew members and the coast guard, Michael J. Tougias and Douglas A. Campbell create an in-depth portrait of the enigmatic Captain Walbridge, his motivations, and what truly occurred aboard Bounty during those terrifying days at sea. “A white-knuckled, tragic adventure” (Richmond Times-Dispatch), Rescue of the Bounty is an unforgettable tale about the brutality of nature and the human will to survive.
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 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.
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.
A Christy Ottaviano Book
"Joseph Barboza is the most dangerous individual known."--FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 1965
Joe Barboza knew that there were two requirements for getting inducted into the Mafia. You had to be Sicilian. And you had to commit a contract killing. The New Bedford-born mobster was a proud Portuguese, not Sicilian, but his dream to be part of La Cosa Nostra proved so strong that he thought he could create a loophole. If he killed enough men, if he did enough of the Mafia's dirtiest biddings, then they would have no choice but to make him a Made Man.
Barboza's brutal rise during one of the deadliest mob wars in U.S. history became the stuff of legend, both on the bloodied streets of Boston and in the offices of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General. He took sick joy in his crimes, and it became increasingly difficult for the mob to keep the Animal on his leash. But soon the hunter became the hunted. Betrayed by the mob and now on the run, Boston's most notorious contract killer forged a Faustian bargain with two unscrupulous FBI agents--a pact that would transform the U.S. criminal justice system. From false testimony and manipulated evidence that sent mob leaders to death row, to the creation of the Witness Protection Program so the feds could protect their prized, cold-blooded witness, this was the horrific, dramatic first act in a story of murder and FBI corruption still being played out today in the news and the courtroom with the capture and trial of Whitey Bulger. Barboza's legacy, buried for years thanks to the murders or deaths of its participants, is finally coming to light and being told in its unvarnished brutality by one of America's most respected true crime writers.
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.
It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high—a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm." In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we've been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control.
Winner of the American Library Association's 1998 Alex Award.
It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.
Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.
Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.
Only one in ten chases actually intercept a tornado-unless you're Reed Timmer. The thrill-seeking meteorologist and star of Storm Chasers has followed and faced down more violent tornadoes than anyone. Into the Storm brings readers into the mind of this man and his mission—collecting data on tornadoes and hurricanes that could save lives—in the terrifying, awe-inspiring world of big weather.
Into the Storm is also a fascinating look at the science of weather—what causes extreme conditions, its connection to climate change, and how a tornado gets its stovepipe structure.
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.
In this extraordinary book, Peter Nichols chronicles a contest of the individual against the sea, waged at a time before cell phones, satellite dishes, and electronic positioning systems. A Voyage for Madmen is a tale of sailors driven by their own dreams and demons, of horrific storms in the Southern Ocean, and of those riveting moments when a split-second decision means the difference between life and death.
With more than one million copies sold, Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us became a cultural phenomenon when first published in 1951 and cemented Carson’s status as the preeminent natural history writer of her time. Her inspiring, intimate writing plumbs the depths of an enigmatic world—a place of hidden lands, islands newly risen from the earth’s crust, fish that pour through the water, and the unyielding, epic battle for survival. Firmly based in the scientific discoveries of the time, The Sea Around Us masterfully presents Carson’s commitment to a healthy planet and a fully realized sense of wonder. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Rachel Carson including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
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.
On November 17, 2012, a pair of fishermen left the coast of Mexico for a weekend fishing trip in the open Pacific. That night, a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing eighty miles offshore. As gale force winds and ten-foot waves pummeled their small, open boat from all sides and nearly capsized them, captain Salvador Alvarenga and his crewmate cut away a two-mile-long fishing line and began a desperate dash through crashing waves as they sought the safety of port.
Fourteen months later, on January 30, 2014, Alvarenga, now a hairy, wild-bearded and half-mad castaway, washed ashore on a nearly deserted island on the far side of the Pacific. He could barely speak and was unable to walk. He claimed to have drifted from Mexico, a journey of some seven thousand miles.
438 Days is the first-ever account of one of the most amazing survival stories in modern times. Based on dozens of hours of exclusive interviews with Alvarenga, his colleagues, search-and-rescue officials, the remote islanders who found him, and the medical team that saved his life, 438 Days is an unforgettable study of the resilience, will, ingenuity and determination required for one man to survive more than a year lost and adrift at sea.
“Fascinating, informative, exhilarating.” —Wall Street Journal
Deep is a voyage from the ocean’s surface to its darkest trenches, the most mysterious places on Earth. Fascinated by the sport of freediving—in which competitors descend great depths on a single breath—James Nestor embeds with a gang of oceangoing extreme athletes and renegade researchers. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and other strange phenomena. Most illuminating of all, he learns that these abilities are reflected in our own remarkable, and often hidden, potential—including echolocation, directional sense, and the profound bodily changes humans undergo when underwater. Along the way, Nestor unlocks his own freediving skills as he communes with the pioneers who are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.
“A journey well worth taking.” —David Epstein, New York Times Book Review
“Nestor pulls us below the surface into a world far beyond imagining and opens our eyes to these unseen places.” —Dallas Morning News
“This is popular science writing at its best.” —Christian Science Monitor
explorers set sail.
As Callum M. Roberts reveals in The Unnatural History of the Sea, the oceans’ bounty didn’t disappear overnight. While today’s fishing industry is ruthlessly efficient, intense exploitation began not in the modern era, or even with the dawn of industrialization, but in the eleventh century in medieval Europe. Roberts explores this long and colorful history of commercial fishing, taking readers around the world and through the centuries to witness the transformation of the seas.
Drawing on firsthand accounts of early explorers, pirates, merchants, fishers, and travelers, the book recreates the oceans of the past: waters teeming with whales, sea lions, sea otters, turtles, and giant fish. The abundance of marine life described by fifteenth century seafarers is almost unimaginable today, but Roberts both brings it alive and artfully traces its depletion. Collapsing fisheries, he shows, are simply the latest chapter in a long history of unfettered commercialization of the seas.
The story does not end with an empty ocean. Instead, Roberts describes how we might restore the splendor and prosperity of the seas through smarter management of our resources and some simple restraint. From the coasts of Florida to New Zealand, marine reserves have fostered spectacular recovery of plants and animals to levels not seen in a century. They prove that history need not repeat itself: we can leave the oceans richer than we found them.
It is a remarkable story of life, death, and revival—told here for the first time in all its stunning color and bleak grays. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay begins in the eighteenth century when Spanish and French explorers encountered a rocky shoreline brimming with life—raucous sea birds, abundant sea otters, barking sea lions, halibut the size of wagon wheels,waters thick with whales. A century and a half later, many of the sea creatures had disappeared, replaced by sardine canneries that sickened residents with their stench but kept the money flowing. When the fish ran out and the climate turned,the factories emptied and the community crumbled. But today,both Monterey’s economy and wildlife are resplendent. How did it happen?
The answer is deceptively simple: through the extraordinary acts of ordinary people. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay is the biography of a place, but also of the residents who reclaimed it. Monterey is thriving because of an eccentric mayor who wasn’t afraid to use pistols, axes, or the force of law to protect her coasts. It is because of fishermen who love their livelihood, scientists who are fascinated by the sea’s mysteries, and philanthropists and community leaders willing to invest in a world-class aquarium. The shores of Monterey Bay revived because of human passion—passion that enlivens every page of this hopeful book.
Though nature is indifferent to the struggles of her creatures, the human effect on them is often premeditated. The distressing decline of sea turtles in Pacific waters and their surprising recovery in the Atlantic illuminate what can go both wrong and right from our interventions, and teach us the lessons that can be applied to restore health to the world's oceans and its creatures. As Voyage of the Turtle, Carl Safina's compelling natural history adventure makes clear, the fate of the astonishing leatherback turtle, whose ancestry can be traced back 125 million years, is in our hands.
Writing with verve and color, Safina describes how he and his colleagues track giant pelagic turtles across the world's oceans and onto remote beaches of every continent. As scientists apply lessons learned in the Atlantic and Caribbean to other endangered seas, Safina follows leatherback migrations, including a thrilling journey from Monterey, California, to nesting grounds on the most remote beaches of Papua, New Guinea. The only surviving species of its genus, family, and suborder, the leatherback is an evolutionary marvel: a "reptile" that behaves like a warm-blooded dinosaur, an ocean animal able to withstand colder water than most fishes and dive deeper than any whale.
In his peerless prose, Safina captures the delicate interaction between these gentle giants and the humans who are finally playing a significant role in their survival.
"Magnificent . . . A joyful, hopeful book. Safina gives us ample reasons to be enthralled by this astonishing ancient animal—and ample reasons to care." -- The Los Angeles Times
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.
A chronicle of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach, The Outermost House has long been recognized as a classic of American nature writing. Henry Beston had originally planned to spend just two weeks in his seaside home, but was so possessed by the mysterious beauty of his surroundings that he found he "could not go."
Instead, he sat down to try and capture in words the wonders of the magical landscape he found himself in thrall to: the migrations of seabirds, the rhythms of the tide, the windblown dunes, and the scatter of stars in the changing summer sky. Beston argued that, "The world today is sick to its thin blood for the lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot." Seventy-five years after they were first published, Beston's words are more true than ever.
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.
In February 1910, a monstrous blizzard centered on Washington State hit the Northwest, breaking records. The world stopped—but nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation evolved minute by minute: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned without escape, their railcars gradually being buried in the rising drifts. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroad's most dedicated men—led by the line's legendarily courageous superintendent, James O'Neill—worked round-the-clock to rescue the trains. But the storm was unrelenting, and to the passenger's great anxiety, the railcars—their only shelter—were parked precariously on the edge of a steep ravine. As the days passed, food and coal supplies dwindled. Panic and rage set in as snow accumulated deeper and deeper on the cliffs overhanging the trains. Finally, just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurred: the earth shifted and a colossal avalanche tumbled from the high pinnacles, sweeping the trains and their sleeping passengers over the steep slope and down the mountainside.
Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nation's deadliest avalanche, Gary Krist's The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a supremely dramatic and never-before-documented American tragedy. An adventure saga filled with colorful and engaging history, this is epic narrative storytelling at its finest.
In The Great Deluge, bestselling author Douglas Brinkley finds the true heroes of this unparalleled catastrophe, and lets the survivors tell their own stories, masterly allowing them to record the nightmare that was Katrina.
Where do clouds come from? Why do they look the way they do? And why have they captured the imagination of timeless artists, Romantic poets, and every kid who's ever held a crayon? Veteran journalist and lifelong sky watcher Gavin Pretor-Pinney reveals everything there is to know about clouds, from history and science to art and pop culture. Cumulus, nimbostratus, and the dramatic and surfable Morning Glory cloud are just a few of the varieties explored in this smart, witty, and eclectic tour through the skies.
Illustrated with striking photographs (including a new section in full-color) and line drawings featuring everything from classical paintings to lava lamps, The Cloudspotter's Guide will have enthusiasts, weather watchers, and the just plain curious floating on cloud nine.
Simply, accurately, and graphically, this Golden Guide explains:
Massive movements of the atmosphere
Weather instruments and how they are used
The origins, development, and effects of storms
How to interpret weather maps
Full-color illustrations and up-to-date facts help you understand the fascinating phenomena of weather, and how changes are predicted.
For the crew of the eco-pirate ship the Farley Mowat, any day saving a whale is a good day to die. In The Whale Warriors, veteran adventure writer Peter Heller takes us on a hair-raising journey with a vigilante crew on their mission to stop illegal Japanese whaling in the stormy, remote seas off the forbidding shores of Antarctica. The Farley is the flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and captained by its founder, the radical environmental enforcer Paul Watson. The Japanese, who are hunting endangered whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, in violation of several international laws, know he means business: Watson has sunk eight whaling ships to the bottom of the sea.
For two months, Heller was aboard the vegan attack vessel as it stalked the Japanese whaling fleet through the howling gales and treacherous ice off the pristine Antarctic coast. The ship is all black, flies under a Jolly Roger, and is outfitted with a helicopter, fast assault Zodiacs, and a seven-foot blade attached to the bow, called the can opener.
As Watson and his crew see it, the plight of the whales is also about the larger crisis of the oceans and the eleventh hour of life as we know it on Earth. The exploitation of endangered whales is emblematic of a terrible overexploitation of the seas that is now entering its desperate denouement. The oceans may be easy to ignore because they are literally under the surface, but scientists believe that the world's oceans are on the verge of total ecosystem collapse. Our own survival is in the balance.
With Force 8 gales, monstrous seas, and a crew composed of professional gamblers, Earthfirst! forest activists, champion equestrians, and ex-military, the action never stops. In the ice-choked water a swimmer has minutes to live. The Japanese factory ship is ten times the tonnage of the Farley. The sailors on board both ships know that there will be no rescue in this desolate part of the ocean. Watson presses his enemy while Japan threatens to send down defense aircraft and warships, Australia appeals for calm, New Zealand dispatches military surveillance aircraft, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence issues a piracy warning, and international media begin to track the developing whale war.
For the Sea Shepherds there is no compromise. If the charismatic, intelligent Great Whales cannot be saved, there is no hope for the rest of the planet. Watson aims his ship like a slow torpedo and gives the order: "Tell the crew, collision in two minutes." In 35-foot seas, it is a deadly game of Antarctic chicken in which the stakes cannot be higher.
The towering mountains and iceberg-filled seas of the western Antarctic Peninsula have for three decades formed the backdrop of scientist Bill Fraser's study of Adélie penguins. In that time, this breathtaking region has warmed faster than any place on earth, with profound consequences for the Adélies, the classic tuxedoed penguin that is dependent on sea ice to survive. During the Antarctic spring and summer of 2005-2006, author Fen Montaigne spent five months working on Fraser's field team, and he returned with a moving tale that chronicles the beauty of the wildest place on earth, the lives of the beloved Adélies, the saga of the discovery of the Antarctic Peninsula, and the story—told through Fraser's work—of how rising temperatures are swiftly changing this part of the world. Captivated by the tale of these polar penguins and a memorable field season in Antarctica, readers will come to understand that the fundamental changes Fraser has witnessed in the Antarctic will soon affect our lives.
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.
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.
July 6, 1988, began as a normal day on Piper Alpha, the biggest offshore oil rig on the North Sea. But just after 10:00 p.m., a series of explosions rocked the platform, and the inferno continued to burn for weeks. Of the 226 men working on the platform, 162 died, along with two of their would-be rescuers. Brad Matsen talked to the survivors and their families; to the rescue teams, firefighters, and hospital workers; and to other witnesses. Now he brings together the full story of the human error and corporate malfeasance behind this tragedy.
Here is a comprehensive account of the catastrophe, from the origins of the fires on the rig to the investigation into the causes of its demise to the pain it continues to cause the survivors and the families of the dead. Written with a novelist’s sense of pace and eye for detail, it is a riveting, gut-wrenching saga, made even more timely and important in light of recent disasters.
From the Hardcover edition.
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
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.
By turns epic and intimate, Telling Our Way to the Sea is both a staggering revelation of unraveling ecosystems and a profound meditation on our changing relationships with nature—and with one another.
When the biologists Aaron Hirsh and Veronica Volny, along with their friend Graham Burnett, a historian of science, lead twelve college students to a remote fishing village on the Sea of Cortez, they come upon a bay of dazzling beauty and richness. But as the group pursues various threads of investigation—ecological and evolutionary studies of the sea, the desert, and their various species of animals and plants; the stories of local villagers; the journals of conquistadors and explorers—they recognize that the bay, spectacular and pristine though it seems, is but a ghost of what it once was. Life in the Sea of Cortez, they realize, has been reshaped by complex human ideas and decisions—the laws and economics of fishing, property, and water; the dreams of developers and the fantasies of tourists seeking the wild; even efforts to retrieve species from the brink of extinction—all of which have caused dramatic upheavals in the ecosystem. It is a painful realization, but the students discover a way forward.
After weathering a hurricane and encountering a rare whale in its wake, they come to see that the bay's best chance of recovery may in fact reside in our own human stories, which can weave a compelling memory of the place. Glimpsing the intricate and ever-shifting web of human connections with the Sea of Cortez, the students comprehend anew their own place in the natural world—suspended between past and future, teetering between abundance and loss. The redemption in their difficult realization is that as they find their places in a profoundly altered environment, they also recognize their roles in the path ahead, and ultimately come to see one another, and themselves, in a new light.
In Telling Our Way to the Sea, Hirsh's voice resounds with compassionate humanity, capturing the complex beauty of both the marine world he explores and the people he explores it with. Vibrantly alive with sensitivity and nuance, Telling Our Way to the Sea transcends its genre to become literature.
Weather enthusiasts (or just the weather-curious) will discover surprising facts, myths, and oddities in this fascinating book of useful (and sometimes useless) information. With his expertise as a meteorologist and editor, Paul Yeager takes readers on a journey through the curious world of weather, revealing myths and misconceptions, sharing weird phenomena, and explaining how weather has affected history. Readers will discover a host of fascinating weather facts, including:
?Which city is actually the windiest
?How the temperature affects tire pressure
?Why humidity makes hair go limp or frizzy
?Why a coming storm causes sore joints
?Why watering a garden after it rains is a good idea
In addition to being marvelous renderings, these plates have long been noted for the peculiar emotional appeal that they have for most viewers, a premonition of surrealism with exotic organic life forms stretching back to their roots in the inorganic, and individual details drawn with awareness of subtle evolutionary changes and millennia-long developments. Artists, illustrators, and others will find them still powerful as one of the landmarks of applied art.
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.