Hargrove does a marvelous job mixing heady science with an engrossing and personal narrative. Nirvana for weather fanatics, the storytelling will appeal to a broad audience, and is infused with the soul of a loving family man on a mission to achieve his dreams, dancing with nature's devil while trying to make the world a safer place.
Hargrove is one today’s great science writers. His book delivers once it gets going. Some early slowness is simply the subject matter when there are no tornadoes. Chasing has its moments, and then a lot of other time is spent with a bunch of geeky (mostly) guys meandering through nowhere. The book will surely enthrall chasers, and it will find a special spot in the hearts of many meteorologists. Everyone can follow along and stay captivated with ease. So, sit back and take a journey through America’s heartland with one of chasing’s legends.
In the best biographies of the obsessive dead, like those written by Jon Krakauer, the writer begins to chase whatever his subject, now passed on, has spent his life pursuing. Hargrove is no different. In that same author’s note, he mentions that even though his research has ended, he still finds himself hopping in his truck as storms form overhead. But the best Krakauer also has a touch of disdain for the subject. Hargrove’s shared passion (and close working relationship with Kathy) allows him incredible access to Tim’s world, but it keeps him from really scratching at the question the book ultimately leaves undisturbed ... The Man Who Caught the Storm manages to be both cinematically thrilling and scientifically wonky. Hargrove clearly admires Samaras, the high school–educated engineer whose ingenuity and bravery helped scientists understand the inside of a tornado. Hargrove’s narrative of Samaras is one of a man who was well-loved, hardheaded, constantly curious, and unendingly driven. But also, perhaps, a man too reckless or too hubristic—or maybe just unlucky to have driven into a storm like none he’d seen before.
Samaras’s story is told well in The Man Who Caught the Storm by Brantley Hargrove, himself a storm chaser and journalist ... Hargrove weaves a tale with just enough background, just enough science and just enough adventure to keep us reading ... In a narrative that often reads like a thriller, we learn how, over the course of an afternoon, Samaras played cat and mouse with a fast-moving storm ... In a scene straight out of the 1996 film Twister, a movie based in part on Samaras’s exploits, he and some of his fellow storm chasers are still debating the intensity of the tornado they just witnessed—was it an EF-4? An EF-5?—when he looks down at his intact probe and says, with a grin, 'well, I can certainly tell you.'
Describing the risks Samaras took...Hargrove ably infuses his tale with a pulse-pounding element. Hargrove also brings forth Samaras’ diffident stance toward professional scientists ... Derived from extensive interviews with Samaras’ family and friends, Hargrove’s biography will gratify severe-weather fans while memorializing its protagonist.
The Man Who Caught the Storm presents the science in terms a lay reader can easily understand, and Hargrove captures the emotional power of the story in a way that makes the book nearly impossible to put down. Despite its tragic ending, this story is ultimately triumphant.
An adroit biography of a thrill-seeking storm chaser ... Hargrove refreshingly contributes quality information on what intrigues and motivates storm chasers, their unique camaraderie, and the evolution of the sophisticated tracking equipment in use today ... An enthralling profile of a storm enthusiast and adrenaline junkie who took his intense interest to extreme measures.
... Hargrove paints a complete picture of the engineer while providing lessons on the science behind tornadoes ... Hargrove not only skillfully presents Samaras’s life story but also the collective story of a storm-chasing subculture.