... chapter one is a lull in an otherwise compelling book—a dry accounting of Europeans settling the New World while hurricanes interfered. The story picks back up when Benjamin Franklin watches what he believes are two consecutive storms ... Dolin takes full advantage of the time-honored character versus nature story and the natural narrative arc of a hurricane. He pulls details from newspaper coverage, journals, books, and oral histories. With active language and sharp characters, he puts us in scene ... Thanks to Dolin’s reporting and framing, each hurricane is a different story that delivers its own lesson about human nature.
...[a] lively chronicle of five tempestuous centuries ...At the start of A Furious Sky, Dolin, who has written several previous books on maritime topics, writes that 'hurricanes have left an indelible mark on American history.' He suggests that it’s particularly important to attend to this mark now because climate change is only going to make storms 'more powerful and more destructive in the future.' But he never develops a clear argument as to what the societal impact of hurricanes has been (besides a lot of devastation and death), or what we can expect it to be going forward (aside from more of the same). Where A Furious Sky is most compelling is in its often harrowing details. It’s filled with haunting personal stories.
Dolin, who has a doctorate in environmental sciences, has created a highly readable and densely fact-filled study. Most Americans remember at least one particular hurricane --- from childhood, direct experience or the memories of an earlier generation --- whether because of dreadful loss, unsettling fears or a near-miss. And through this literate survey, they can recall, re-examine and understand it in finer detail.
Dolin’s weather drama reveals just how horrific these monster storms can be. But this compelling book is much more than a meteorological history, it is a remarkably human story of people struggling with nature at its fiercest and the myriad ways hurricanes have affected the course of human events ... Many of those true tales of survival and loss will tug at the readers’ heartstrings as Dolin makes them vivid and memorable ... Dolin illuminates how much technology and careful scientific and civic organization and coordination have helped better prepare Americans for hurricane season. But, despite radar and satellites, the paths of these ferocious storms can never be fully predicted and Dolin presents the consensus view that global warming will only make hurricanes stronger in the future.
Packed with intriguing miscellanea, this accessible chronicle serves as a worthy introduction to the subject. Readers will be awed by the power of these storms and the wherewithal of people to recover from them.
Drawing on abundant sources, including material from the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service, and Hurricane Research Division, and with an academic background in enviromental policy, Dolin, who has a doctorate in environmental policy, offers an authoritative and lively history of hurricanes ... A sweeping, absorbing history of nature's power.