“Very good . . . sure to help keep the terrible storm in its proper place in New England’s memory, as well as being timely reading in this period of unusually heavy and frequent hurricane activity.” Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
The Great Hurricane: 1938
978-0-8021-4254-2 • $13.00 • Paperback • July 2006
History (United States)
On the night of September 21, 1938, news on the radio was full of the invasion of Czechoslovakia. There was no mention of severe weather. By the time oceanfront residents noticed an ominous yellow color in the sky, it was too late. In a matter of hours, a massive hurricane of unprecedented force ripped its way from Long Island to Providence, obliterating coastal communities, destroying whole commercial fishing fleets from Montauk to Narragansett Bay, and killing seven hundred people.
Early that morning, old-salt fishermen heading out on calm seas noticed a sudden drop in the barometer, which made some turn back. Hurtling toward them at a record speed was a powerful hurricanethe big cat stalking the coast was ready to strike. It struck Long Island with the tide at an all-time high under a full, equinox moon. The sea rose out of its shores like a demon, with catastrophic waves surging over fifty feet. Winds whipped up to 186 miles per hour, trashing boats and smashing homes from Long Island to Connecticut and Rhode Island. Most victims never knew what hit them.
Flowing through The Great Hurricane: 1938 are personal stories of those like the Moore family who were sucked to sea clinging to a raft formerly their attic floor. Like The Perfect Storm, Burns’s masterful storytelling follows the storm’s punishing path in a seamless and suspenseful narrative, preserving for posterity the legendary story of the Great Hurricane.