Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy

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The first complete moment-by-moment account of the largest Atlantic storm system ever recorded—a hurricane like no other

The sky was lit by a full moon on October 29, 2012, but nobody on the eastern seaboard of the United States could see it. Everything had been consumed by cloud. The storm’s immensity caught the attention of scientists on the International Space Station. Even from there, it seemed almost limitless: 1.8 million square feet of tightly coiled bands so huge they filled the windows of the Station. It was the largest storm anyone had ever seen.

Initially a tropical storm, Sandy had grown into a hybrid monster. It charged across open ocean, picking up strength with every step, baffling meteorologists and scientists, officials and emergency managers, even the traditional maritime wisdom of sailors and seamen: What exactly was this thing? By the time anyone decided, it was too late.

And then the storm made landfall.

Sandy was not just enormous, it was also unprecedented. As a result, the entire nation was left flat-footed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration couldn’t issue reliable warnings; the Coast Guard didn’t know what to do. In Superstorm, journalist Kathryn Miles takes readers inside the maelstrom, detailing the stories of dedicated professionals at the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service. The characters include a forecaster who risked his job to sound the alarm in New Jersey, the crew of the ill-fated tall ship Bounty, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Christie, and countless coastal residents whose homes—and lives—were torn apart and then left to wonder . . . When is the next superstorm coming?
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About the author

KATHRYN MILES is a faculty member at Chatham University and Green Mountain College. Her article for Outside on one Hurrican Sandy story was named a “must read” by The New Yorker, Longform, and The Daily Beast. Her writing has also appeared in Best American Essays. She lives in Belfast, Maine.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Oct 16, 2014
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780698186224
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Natural Disasters
Science / Global Warming & Climate Change
Sports & Recreation / Sailing
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A journey around the United States in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts, and ultimately the kind of preparations that will actually help guide us through disasters. It’s a road trip full of surprises.
 
Earthquakes. You need to worry about them only if you’re in San Francisco, right? Wrong. We have been making enormous changes to subterranean America, and Mother Earth, as always, has been making some of her own. . . . The consequences for our real estate, our civil engineering, and our communities will be huge because they will include earthquakes most of us do not expect and cannot imagine—at least not without reading Quakeland. Kathryn Miles descends into mines in the Northwest, dissects Mississippi levee engineering studies, uncovers the horrific risks of an earthquake in the Northeast, and interviews the seismologists, structual engineers, and emergency managers around the country who are addressing this ground shaking threat.

As Miles relates, the era of human-induced earthquakes began in 1962 in Colorado after millions of gallons of chemical-weapon waste was pumped underground in the Rockies. More than 1,500 quakes over the following seven years resulted. The Department of Energy plans to dump spent nuclear rods in the same way. Evidence of fracking’s seismological impact continues to mount. . . . Humans as well as fault lines built our “quakeland”.

What will happen when Memphis, home of FedEx's 1.5-million-packages-a-day hub, goes offline as a result of an earthquake along the unstable Reelfoot Fault? FEMA has estimated that a modest 7.0 magnitude quake (twenty of these happen per year around the world) along the Wasatch Fault under Salt Lake City would put a $33 billion dent in our economy. When the Fukushima  reactor melted down, tens of thousands were displaced. If New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant blows, ten million people will be displaced. How would that evacuation even begin?

Kathryn Miles’ tour of our land is as fascinating and frightening as it is irresistibly compelling.
The true story behind the events that inspired the major motion picture Only the Brave.

A "unique and bracing" (Booklist) first-person account by the sole survivor of Arizona's disastrous 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, which took the lives of 19 "hotshots"--firefighters trained specifically to battle wildfires.

Brendan McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when he, for the sake of his young daughter, decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their leader, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the unit, and perhaps seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough, and the chance paid off. Despite the crew's skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marsh's firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.

Then, on June 30, 2013, while McDonough--"Donut" as he'd been dubbed by his team--served as lookout, they confronted a freak, 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks.

Granite Mountain is a gripping memoir that traces McDonough's story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very men who had saved him. A harrowing and redemptive tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, Granite Mountain is also a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm's way to protect us every day.
In this “charming, rich, intelligent” memoir, a woman discovers the natural world by following her dog’s lead (Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, New York Times–bestselling author of When Elephants Weep).
 
When she adopted Ari, an exotic Jindo dog, Kathryn Miles steeled herself for the usual disruptions that come with a new puppy. But she didn’t realize how transformative her relationship with Ari would be. As the two of them began to explore the outdoors together, walking through the forest near their Maine log cabin, she realizes that a dog sees the world quite differently from a person (for starters, he or she is much closer to the ground)—and that looking at things from Ari’s point of view was a way to truly take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.
 
Determined to let Ari lead the way and live life on her own terms, she set some basic ground rules, then took the leash off her dog and the blinders off her own eyes. In this memoir, she recounts the experience. She and Ari explore a backyard landscape of grass, mud, snow, trees, and the occasional fox. They find the scent of a northern wind, the footprints of a startled raccoon, and other secrets of the natural world. The puppy’s free-spirited outlook teaches Kathryn to see more when she might otherwise have seen less, while adding a certain excitement and clarity of vision. Soon, Kathryn begins to give up control and know the world as Ari does.
 
Adventures with Ari makes compelling reading for dog lovers as well as anyone who’s been out and about in the woods. Like most projects of discovery, this process forces Kathryn to uncover much more than the physical—it allows important insight to her thoughts and feelings and her relationship with her entire family, all thanks to a puppy named Ari.
 
“Some discover nature through gardening, others through camping, and a rare few—such as Kathryn Miles—by gripping the end of a leash as the family dog reveals the great outdoors.” —Hannah Holmes, author of The Well Dressed Ape: A Natural History of Myself
All Standing The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, the Legendary Irish Famine Ship recounts the journeys of this famous ship, her heroic crew, and the immigrants who were ferried between Ireland and North America. Spurred by a complex web of motivations—shame, familial obligation, and sometimes even greed—more than a million people attempted to flee the Irish famine. More than one hundred thousand of them would die aboard one of the five thousand aptly named “coffin ships.” But in the face of horrific losses, a small ship named the Jeanie Johnston never lost a passenger. Shipwright John Munn, community leader Nicholas Donovan, Captain James Attridge, Dr. Richard Blennerhassett, and the efforts of a remarkable crew allowed thousands of people to find safety and fortune throughout the United States and Canada.

Why did these individuals succeed when so many others failed? What prompted them to act, when so many people preferred to do nothing—or worse? Using newspaper accounts, rare archival documents, and her own experience sailing as an apprentice aboard the recently re-created Jeanie Johnston, Kathryn Miles tells the story of these extraordinary people and the revolutionary milieu in which they set sail. The tale of each individual is remarkable in and of itself; read collectively, their stories paint a unique portrait of bravery in the face of a new world order. Theirs is a story of ingenuity and even defiance, one that recounts a struggle to succeed, to shake the mantle of oppression and guilt, to endure in the face of unimaginable hardship. On more than one occasion, stewards of the ship would be accused of acting out of self-interest or greed. Nevertheless, what these men—and their ship—accomplished over the course of eleven voyages to North America was the stuff of legend.

Interwoven in their tale is the story of Nicholas Reilly, a baby boy born on the ship’s maiden voyage. The Reilly family climbed aboard the Jeanie Johnston in search of the American Dream. While they would find some version of that dream, it would not be without a struggle—one that would deposit Nicholas into a deeply controversial moment in American history. Against this backdrop, Miles weaves a thrilling, intimate narrative, chronicling the birth of a remarkable Irish-American family in the face of one of the planet’s greatest human rights atrocities.
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