A biography of the life and death of Tim Samaras, an amateur "storm chaser" whose derring-do and technological innovations earned him a place of prominence in the university-educated world of tornado scientists.
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.