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Storm Kings

Lee Sandlin



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Vintage Books
15 March 2014
With 16 pages of black-and-white illustrations From the acclaimed author of Wicked River comes Storm Kings, a riveting tale of supercell tornadoes and the quirky, pioneering, weather-obsessed scientists whose discoveries created the science of modern meteorology. hile tornadoes have occasionally been spotted elsewhere, only the central plains of North America have the perfect conditions for their creation. For the early settlers the sight of a funnel cloud was an unearthly event. They called it the Storm King, and their descriptions bordered on the supernatural- it glowed green or red, it whistled or moaned or sang. In Storm Kings, Lee Sandlin explores America's fascination with and unique relationship to tornadoes. From Ben Franklin's early experiments to the great storm war of the nineteenth century to heartland life in the early twentieth century, Sandlin re-creates with vivid descriptions some of the most devastating storms in America's history, including the Tri-state Tornado of 1925 and the Peshtigo fire tornado, whose deadly path of destruction was left encased in glass. rawing on memoirs, letters, eyewitness testimonies, an
By:   Lee Sandlin
Imprint:   Vintage Books
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 203mm,  Width: 132mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   298g
ISBN:   9780307473585
ISBN 10:   0307473589
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   15 March 2014
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Lee Sandlin is the author of Wicked River- The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild and reviews books for The Wall Street Journal. His essay Losing the War was included in the anthology The New Kings of Nonfiction. He lives in Chicago.

Reviews for Storm Kings

Even before the horrific events in Oklahoma, Lee Sandlin's Storm Kings banished any notion I may have had that it would be a lot of fun to see a tornado up close. Mr. Sandlin knows how to tell a story, and his gripping narrative, often lyrical and often horrifying, conveys the awesome destructive power of tornadoes as well as their bewildering randomness. . . . Much of the book is devoted to biographies of the often cantankerous figures who advanced and occasionally retarded efforts to record, explain and predict tornadoes. . . . But the stars of the book are the fearsome clouds themselves. . . . Mr. Sandlin debunks many common misconceptions. Don't waste time opening windows to equalize pressure, he says, because tornadoes don't explode houses in a vacuum; the winds do the damage. Find a windowless room; bathrooms are good, since the pipes add support. There is no best corner. For emergency shelter outside, a ditch is better than a highway overpass. . . . [ Storm Kings ] reads like a police procedural, a 300-year journey of wrong turns and sometimes agonizingly slow progress toward the era of Doppler radar, the enhanced Fujita scale and the funnel chasers bouncing through Tornado Alley in gadgeted vehicles. . . . Scientists should not scoff at the absence of technical detail in Storm Kings. They are likely to learn a lot about the backgrounds and obsessions of their predecessors, who made real science in the fashion of a tornado itself: twisting and meandering, with great energy and much warm air rising. --Michael Pollack, The New York Times Thrilling. . . . Sandlin's triumph is turning a historical survey of generations of American tornado scholars, victims and obsessives into something that reads like a brisk novel. It offers an epic scope reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez; vivid, eccentric characters that could inhabit a Jonathan Lethem book; rivalries as intense as anything in Dostoevsky or Archie comics; and wonders as grand as any desc

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