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Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Niño and the Fate of Civilization  Fagan, Brian, 2009. Basic Books, 368p.
In 1999, few people had thought to examine the effects of climate on civilization. Now, due in part to the groundbreaking work of archaeologist Brian Fagan, climate change is a central issue. Revised and updated ten years after its first publication, Floods, Famines and Emperors remains the definitive account of how the world’s best-known climate event had an indelible impact on history.

Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages  Macdougall, Doug, 2013. University of California Press, 278p.
In this engrossing and accessible book, Doug Macdougall explores the causes and effects of ice ages that have gripped our planet throughout its history, from the earliest known glaciation—nearly three billion years ago—to the present. Following the development of scientific ideas about these dramatic events, Macdougall traces the lives of many of the brilliant and intriguing characters who have contributed to the evolving understanding of how ice ages come about. As it explains how the great Pleistocene Ice Age has shaped the earth's landscape and influenced the course of human evolution, Frozen Earth also provides a fascinating look at how science is done, how the excitement of discovery drives scientists to explore and investigate, and how timing and chance play a part in the acceptance of new scientific ideas.

The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations  Fagan, Brian, 2009. Bloomsbury Press, 304p.
From the tenth to the fifteenth century the earth experienced a rise in surface temperature that changed climate worldwide―a preview of today's global warming. In some areas, including western Europe, longer summers brought bountiful harvests and population growth that led to cultural flowering. In the Arctic, Inuit and Norse sailors made cultural connections across thousands of miles as they traded precious iron goods. Polynesian sailors, riding new wind patterns, were able to settle the remotest islands on earth. But in many parts of the world, the warm centuries brought drought and famine. Elaborate societies in western and central America collapsed, and the vast building complexes of Chaco Canyon and the Mayan Yucatán were left empty. The history of the Great Warming of a half millennium ago suggests that we may yet be underestimating the power of climate change to disrupt our lives today―and our vulnerability to drought, writes Fagan, is the "silent elephant in the room."

The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850  Fagan, Brian, 2001. Basic Books, 272p.
The Little Ice Age tells the story of the turbulent, unpredictable, and often very cold years of modern European history, how this altered climate affected historical events, and what it means for today's global warming. Building on research that has only recently confirmed that the world endured a 500year cold snap, renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan shows how the increasing cold influenced familiar events from Norse exploration to the settlement of North America to the Industrial Revolution. This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in history, climate, and how they interact.

The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization  Fagan, Brian, 2004. Basic Books, 304p.
Humanity evolved in an Ice Age in which glaciers covered much of the world. But starting about 15,000 years ago, temperatures began to climb. Civilization and all of recorded history occurred in this warm period, the era known as the Holocene-the long summer of the human species. In The Long Summer, Brian Fagan brings us the first detailed record of climate change during these 15,000 years of warming, and shows how this climate change gave rise to civilization. A thousand-year chill led people in the Near East to take up the cultivation of plant foods; a catastrophic flood drove settlers to inhabit Europe; the drying of the Sahara forced its inhabitants to live along the banks of the Nile; and increased rainfall in East Africa provoked the bubonic plague. The Long Summer illuminates for the first time the centuries-long pattern of human adaptation to the demands and challenges of an ever-changing climate-challenges that are still with us today.

Plow, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate  Ruddiman, William F., 2010. Princeton University Press, 240p.
The impact on climate from 200 years of industrial development is an everyday fact of life, but did humankind's active involvement in climate change really begin with the industrial revolution, as commonly believed? Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum has sparked lively scientific debate since it was first published--arguing that humans have actually been changing the climate for some 8,000 years--as a result of the earlier discovery of agriculture.


The Worst Hard Time  Egan, Timothy, 2006. New York: Mariner Books, 340p.
"The Worst Hard Time is an epic story of blind hope and endurance almost beyond belief; it is also, as Tim Egan has told it, a riveting tale of bumptious charlatans, conmen, and tricksters, environmental arrogance and hubris, political chicanery, and a ruinous ignorance of nature's ways. Egan has reached across the generations and brought us the people who played out the drama in this devastated land, and uses their voices to tell the story as well as it could ever be told." — Marq de Villiers, author of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource.

Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago  Klinenberg, Eric, 2002. University of Chicago Press, 328p.
Heat waves in the United States kill more people during a typical year than all other natural disasters combined. A week-long heat wave that occurred in Chicago in mid-July 1995 caused more than 700 deaths and and ultimately led to significant changes in how Chicago and other metropolitan areas deal with heat waves. This book examines the social, political, and institutional organs of the city that made this urban disaster so much worse than it ought to have been. Starting with the question of why so many people died at home alone, Klinenberg investigates why some neighborhoods experienced greater mortality than others, how the city government responded to the crisis, and how journalists, scientists, and public officials reported on and explained these events.

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water  Reisner, Marc, 1987 (revised 1993). Penguin Books, 608p.
From Publishers Weekly: "In this stunning work of history and investigative journalism, Reisner tells the story of conflicts over water policy in the West and the resulting damage to the land, wildlife and Indians. PW stated that this 'timely and important book should be required reading for all citizens.'"  A New York Times Book Review calls this "a revealing, absorbing, often amusing, and alarming report."


Riding Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927and How It Changed America  Barry, John M., 1997. Simon & Schuster, 524 p.
An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

Tragic Story of America's Greatest Disaster: Tornado, Flood and Fire in Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska and Mississippi Valley  Everett, Marshall, 1913. Chicago: J.S. Ziegler Company, 320p.
A "graphic and startling account of the most thrilling personal experiences, awful tragedies, miraculous escapes, acts of heroism and self-sacrifice, told by the survivors and rescuers." -- Original cover text. This is available as a free ebook, digitized by Google, at

A Pictorial History of the Great Dayton Flood  Funk, Nellis R., 1913. Dayton: The Otterbein Press, 63p.
This contemporaneous history is full of photographs, drawings and maps of the Dayton, Ohio area taken just after the Great Flood of 1913. It has also gone into great depth the occurances before, during and after the flood in Dayton, and many stories of rescue and escape from the flood waters. This is available as a free ebook, digitized by Google, at

Everything in its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood  Erikson, Kai T., 1978. Simon & Schuster, 288p.
The 1977 Sorokin Award–winning story of Buffalo Creek in the aftermath of a devastating flood: On February 26, 1972, 132-million gallons of debris-filled muddy water burst through a makeshift mining-company dam and roared through Buffalo Creek, a narrow mountain hollow in West Virginia. Following the flood, survivors from a previously tightly knit community were crowded into trailer homes with no concern for former neighborhoods. The result was a collective trauma that lasted longer than the individual traumas caused by the original disaster.

The Floods of 1913 in the rivers of the Ohio and the lower Mississippi Valleys  Henry, Alfred Judson, 1913. Washington: Government Printing Office, 117p.
"The honorable the Secretary of Agriculture, Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the disastrous floods of March and April, 1913, in the States of Ohio and Indiana; also of the resulting floods in the Ohio and lower Mississippii Rivers, together with tables and illustrations appertaining to the same. This report has been prepared by Prof. Alfred J. Henry. I recommend its publication as Bulletin Z of the Weather Bureau. Very respectfully, C.F. Marvin, Chief of Bureau." -- letter of transmittal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Chief of the Weather Bureau. This is available as a free ebook and other formats, digitized by The Library of Congress, at

The 1,000-Year Flood: Destruction, Loss, Rescue and Redemption along the Mississippi River  Lyon, Stephen J., 2010. Globe Pequot Press, 221p.
Almost every year, areas of the Midwest are subjected to massive flooding. Sandbags are filled and stacked, FemA arrives, and there is a discussion of whether this is a 500-year flood, a 1,000-year flood, or just another typical summer season. This new book looks at a town devastated and rebuilt--that will likely be rebuilt again when the next years' waters rise and puts it in context with the history of the region and the people who have lived there for generations.

The True Story Of Our National Calamity Of Flood, Fire and Tornado  Marshall, Logan, 1913. L. T. Myers, 320p.
From the original front cover: "The appalling loss of life, the terrible suffering of the homeless, the struggles for safety, and the noble herosm of those who risked life to save loved ones; the unprecedented loss of property, resulting in the laying waste of flourishing cities and towns. How the Whole Nation Joined in the Work of Relief." This is available as a free ebook, digitized by Google, at

The Johnstown Flood  McCullough, David 1968. Simon & Schuster, 302p.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation’s burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.

A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008  Mutel, Cornelia (Editor), 2010. University of Iowa Press, 284p.
In June 2008, the rivers of eastern Iowa rose above their banks to create floods of epic proportions; their amazing size flowing in places at a rate nearly double that of the previous record flood and the rapidity of their rise ruined farmlands and displaced thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses. In Cedar Rapids, the waters inundated more than nine square miles of the downtown area; in Iowa City, where the flood was also the most destructive in history, the University of Iowa’s arts campus was destroyed. By providing a solid base of scientific and technical information presented with unusual clarity and a wealth of supporting illustrations, the contributors to this far-reaching book, many of whom dealt firsthand with the 2008 floods, provide a detailed roadmap of the causes and effects of future devastating floods.

America's Greatest Flood and Tornado Calamity  Prochnow, Herbert Victor; Thomas Herbert; J. Martin Miller, 1913. University of Michigan, 320p.
From the original front cover: "Authentic Story of these Appalling Disasters. Graphic and complete account of the terrible floods in Ohio, Indiana and other states. Hundreds swept into eternity. Soul-stirring stories told by eyewitnesses. Nation responds to President Wilson's appeal for aid. The Omaha tornado killed may people and destroyed and wrecked thousands of homes. Thrilling accounts of miraculous escapes from death. Millions of dollars worth of property destroyed." This is available as a free ebook, digitized by Google, at

The Floods of the Spring of 1903, in the Mississippi Watershed...  Frankenfield, Harry Crawford, 1904. Nabu Press (reissue March 2012), 142p.
Publisher's note: "This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print." The original was published by the United States Weather Bureau in Bulletin M. and can be found in various online digitized collections. Summary: On causes, duration, overflow, damage, and reports on local areas; with data on river height and property damage, for selected cities.

The Ohio and Mississippi Floods of 1912  Frankenfield, H.C., 1913. US Weather Bureau, Government Printing Office, 25p
A report on the Ohio and Mississippi floods of 1912, prepared by H.C. Frankenfield, professor of meteorology with the United States Weather Bureau. Contains 41 charts and diagrams, and comparison with floods of 1882, 1897, and 1903. Available as a free eBook from Google Books and other online digital collections.

The Floods of 1927 in the Mississippi Basin  Frankenfield, H.C., 1927. US Weather Bureau, Government Printing Office, 49p
A report on the Mississippi Basin floods of 1927, prepared by H.C. Frankenfield, professor of meteorology with the United States Weather Bureau. Monthly weather review, Supplement no. 29, contains plates, charts and maps (1 folded in pocket). This title has limited availability, mostly from university libraries, and is in book format only.

The Great Flood of 1993  Stanley A. Changnon, 1996. Westview Press, 336p.
The flood that affected a third of the United States during the summer of 1993 was the nation’s worst, ranking as a once-in-300-years event. It severely tested national, state, and local systems for managing natural resources and for handling emergencies, illuminating both the strengths and weaknesses in existing methods of preparing for and dealing with massive prolonged flooding.Through detailed case studies, this volume diagnoses the social and economic impacts of the disaster, assessing how resource managers, flood forecasters, public institutions, the private sector, and millions of volunteers responded to it. The first comprehensive evaluation of the 1993 flood, this book examines the way in which floods are forecast and monitored, the effectiveness of existing recovery processes, and how the nation manages its floodplains. The volume concludes with recommendations for the future, in hope of better preparing the country for the next flood or other comparable disaster.


The Dynamic Great Lakes  Barbara Spring, 2002. Independence Books, 113p.
The five Great Lakes, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario with their connecting waters are the world’s largest freshwater system; about 20 per cent of all the fresh surface water on this planet. Each lake differs from the other and yet these connected lakes are one flowing system connected to the Atlantic through the St. Lawrence River. Unique ecosystems evolved in these lakes since the last Ice Age but in the last 200 years commercial fishing and the Lamprey Eel wiped out larger fish. Shipping on the Great Lakes from all parts of the world has brought exotic species that threaten to topple food pyramids. Pollution carried through the air and water damages life in and around these lakes. Through knowledge, and the democratic process, The Dynamic Great Lakes encourages us to appreciate and understand these lakes and to get involved in finding answers to their problems.

Gales of November: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald  Robert J. Hemming, 1981. Contemporary Books, 248p.
From reviewers: "In 'Gales of November,' Robert J. Hemming takes another approach to the sinking: he focuses on the crew. The book is nicely refined and ultimately readable prose that is more captivating than most books." Also "Out of all the books written about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, this one remains by far the best. Not only is the book filled with stunningly accurate details about the ship, it reads like a gripping novel. I especially admire the way the author chose to piece together the facts that he knew to recreate the story of the ship's actual sinking. Most other books I have read on the Fitz have been afraid to tackle such a challenge."

Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Survivals - 3rd edition  William Ratigan, 1977. William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 386p.
In this breathtaking chronicle of the most spectacular shipwrecks and survivals on the Great Lakes, William Ratigan re-creates vivid scenes of high courage and screaming panic from which no reader can turn away. Included in this striking catalog of catastrophes and Flying Dutchmen are the magnificent excursion liner Eastland, which capsized at her pier in the Chicago River, drowning 835 people within clutching distance of busy downtown streets; the shipwrecked steel freighter Mataafa, which dumped its crew into freezing waters while the snowbound town of Duluth looked on; the dark Sunday in November 1913 when Lake Huron swallowed eight long ships without a man surviving to tell the tale; and the bitter November of 1958 when the Bradley went down in Lake Michigan during one of the greatest killer storms on the freshwater seas. An entire section is dedicated to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- the most famous maritime loss in modern times -- in Lake Superior in 1975.

Lake Effect: Tales of Large Lakes, Arctic Winds, and Recurrent Snows  Mark Monmonier, 2012. Syracuse University Press, 246p.
Blending meteorological history with the history of scientific cartography, Monmonier charts the phenomenon of lake-effect snow and explores the societal impacts of extreme weather. Along the way, he introduces readers to natural philosophers who gradually identified this distinctive weather pattern, to tales of communities adapting to notoriously disruptive storms, and to some of the snowiest regions of the country. Characterized by intense snowfalls lasting from a couple of minutes to several days, lake-effect snow is deposited by narrow bands of clouds formed when cold, dry arctic air passes over a large, relatively warm inland lake. With perhaps only half the water content of regular snow, lake snow is typically light, fluffy, and relatively easy to shovel. Intriguing stories of lake effect's quirky behavior and diverse impacts include widespread ignorance of the phenomenon in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Residents of lake-effect regions, history buffs, and weather junkies alike will relish this entertaining and informative book.

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas  Jerry Dennis, 2004. AMS, Boston, 172p.
From Booklist reviewer Gilbert Taylor: "Dennis surveys the Inland Seas through the viewpoint of his lake-faring rambles in three different vessels: schooner, racing yacht, and voyageur canoe. As he passes the numerous spectacular sights the Great Lakes afford sailors, Dennis recalls their associated history in a vibrant blend of personal observation and geological, historical, and environmental anecdote. The main focus here is a schooner trip in 2000 from Grand Traverse Bay to Maine (via the Erie Canal). As the Malabar negotiates the treacherous Straits of Mackinac, Dennis not only covers the French missions, British forts, and innumerable shipwrecks in this storied area but also recollects his experience in the annual Chicago-to-Mackinac yacht race. Working in a separate, French fur-trapper style canoeing adventure on Lake Superior, Dennis touches on all five lakes in this compendium, endowing his chronicle with a breadth that makes it a fine introduction to the lakes' ecology. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved."

Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald  Schumacher, Michael, 2005. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 256p.
The disappearance of the Edmund Fitzgerald remains one of the great unsolved mysteries in maritime history. Michael Schumacher relays in vivid detail the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald, its many productive years on the waters of the Great Lakes, its tragic demise, the search effort and investigation, as well as the speculation and the controversy that followed in the wake of the disaster. Michael Schumacher is the author of six books. He has written 25 documentaries on Great Lakes shipwrecks, including three about the Edmund Fitzgerald. "In his ballad, Mr. Lightfoot sang about the Fitz's final tense moments, when "the waves turn minutes to hours: Now the hours have lengthened into years and years into decades-but the allure of this doomed ship and its missing men remains as strong as ever."-Wall Street Journal

November's Fury: The Deadly Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913  Schumacher, Michael, 2013. University of Minnesota Press, 240p.
On Thursday, November 6, the Detroit News forecasted “moderate to brisk” winds for the Great Lakes. On Friday, the Port Huron Times-Herald predicted a “moderately severe” storm. Hourly the warnings became more and more dire. Weather forecasting was in its infancy, however, and radio communication was not much better; by the time it became clear that a freshwater hurricane of epic proportions was developing, the storm was well on its way to becoming the deadliest in Great Lakes maritime history. The ultimate story of man versus nature, November’s Fury recounts the dramatic events that unfolded over those four days in 1913, as captains eager—or at times forced—to finish the season tried to outrun the massive storm that sank, stranded, or demolished dozens of boats and claimed the lives of more than 250 sailors.

So Terrible a Storm: A Tale of Fury on Lake Superior  Brown, Curt, 2011. Voyageur Press, 320p.
Through masterful research and elegant prose, Curt Brown traces the devastating intersection of nature’s fury and corporate greed. It was Thanksgiving week 1905, and the industry bosses wanted one last run before the shipping season ended; the bottom line depended on it. The tragedy that followed led to the building of Split Rock Lighthouse—and went down in history as one of the nation’s worst shipping disasters. The explosive squall caught nearly 30 vessels on Lake Superior. In the wake of the storm, weather forecasting and shipbuilding were forever changed. Drawn from the accounts of witnesses and survivors, So Terrible a Storm is a must-read.

White Hurricane: A Great Lakes November Gale and America's Deadliest Maritime Disaster - 1st edition  David G. Brown, 2004. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 256p.
From the back cover: "A Riveting Account of the Worst Storm Great Lakes Mariners Have Ever Experienced - As ships left port on Friday, November 7, 1913, a deadly atmospheric disturbance was already churning Lake Superior and spreading east. By Sunday night, Lake Huron was battered by winds up to 90 miles an hour, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous 35-foot waves. The White Hurricane became the worst Great Lakes storm on record: twelve ships sank, and thirty-one more were stranded on rocks and beaches. At least 248 sailors lost their lives, and the city of Cleveland faced the worst natural disaster in its history. In White Hurricane, nationally recognized nautical writer and experienced Great Lakes mariner David G. Brown uses firsthand accounts and contemporary newspaper reports to re-create the desperate struggles aboard doomed and damaged vessels and on shore, and reconstructs the progress of the storm in a tight chronology packed with vivid detail and unforgettable drama."


Issac’s Storm: A Man a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History  Larson, Erik, 1999. Crown Publishers, 323p.
September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history--and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devestating personal tragedy.

Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870  Ludlam, D.M. 1966. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston
This new study of hurricanes has been divided by Ludlum into two periods. The first extends from the voyages of Columbus to the end of 1814. This was about the beginning of the Federal government's attempt to establish a national weather observing service. The second period carries through the Civil War to 1870, the year the United States signal Corps established its storm warning system. — Excerpt from review by Charles D. Gouldie in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (April 1964).

Father Benito Vines: The 19th-Century Life and Contributions of a Cuban Hurricane Observer and Scientist  Ramos Guadalupe, L.E., 2014. AMS, Boston, 172p.
Before Doppler radar and broadcast weather reports, Spanish-born Benito Viñes (1837–1893) spent decades observing the skies at Belen Observatory in colonial Cuba, routinely issuing weather reports and forecasts to local newspapers. And before storm trackers and emergency alerts, Viñes made it his mission to teach the public what he was learning about the weather. He developed the first network of weather observation stations in the Caribbean, and his research laid the groundwork for the hurricane warning systems we use today. His sometimes eerily accurate hurricane forecasts helped save many lives—earning him the nickname "the Hurricane Priest."

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea  Junger, Sebastian, 2009. W.W. Norton & Company, 248p.
It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high—a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm." In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we've been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control. Contains 8 pages of illustrations.


Storm Watchers: The Turbulent History of Weather Prediction from Franklin’s Kite to El Niño  Cox, John D., 2007. Hoboken: Wiley and Sons, 252 p.
Today’s weather forecasting is a marvel of digital electronics; it is more accurate, more objective, and more useful than ever. But before all this modern technology was the work of a few determined, brilliant individuals. Storm Watchers tells the remarkable, little-known stories of these pioneering scientists. John Cox presents their epic quest to determine how to predict the weather accurately, tracing the development of meteorology from the time of Aristotle up to the recent breakthroughs in weather prediction.

Historical Climate Variability and Impacts in North America, Dupigny-Giroux, L. and C. J. Mock, 2010. (eds.). Springer Publishers, 278 p.
Climatologists with an eye on the past have any number of sources for their work, from personal diaries to weather station reports. Piecing together the trajectory of a weather event can thus be a painstaking process taking years and involving real detective work. Missing pieces of a climate puzzle can come from very far afield, often in unlikely places. In this book, a series of case studies examine specific regions across North America, using instrumental and documentary data from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Extreme weather events such as the Sitka hurricane of 1880 are recounted in detail, while the chapters also cover more widespread phenomena such as the collapse of the Low Country rice culture.

Tambora: the Eruption that Changed the World  D’Arcy Wood, Gillian, 2014. Princeton University Press, ~281p.
When Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano's massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years. Communities worldwide endured famine, disease, and civil unrest on a catastrophic scale. Here, Gillen D'Arcy Wood traces Tambora's global and historical reach: how the volcano's three-year climate change regime initiated the first worldwide cholera pandemic, expanded opium markets in China, and plunged the United States into its first economic depression. Bringing the history of this planetary emergency to life, Tambora sheds light on the fragile interdependence of climate and human societies to offer a cautionary tale about the potential tragic impacts of drastic climate change in our own century.


5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado  Turner, Randy, John Hacker, 2011. Published by Randy Turner, 228p.
At 5:41 p.m. May 22, 2011, the deadliest single tornado to hit the United States in 50 years tore its way through Joplin, Missouri. By the time it completed its murderous course, 160 lives were lost, and those who survived have stories they can tell for the rest of their lives. Written by veteran southwest Missouri reporters Randy Turner and John Hacker, the book features photos taken by Hacker within moments of the deadly tornado and details about some of the horrific moments that came to symbolize May 22, 2011, in Joplin, Missouri.

Tragic Story of America's Greatest Disaster: Tornado, Flood and Fire in Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska and Mississippi Valley  Everett, Marshall, 1913. Chicago: J.S. Ziegler Company, 320p.
A "graphic and startling account of the most thrilling personal experiences, awful tragedies, miraculous escapes, acts of heroism and self-sacrifice, told by the survivors and rescuers." -- Original cover text. This is available as a free ebook, digitized by Google, at

American Tornado: The Terrifying True Story of the 1974 Outbreak -- And the People Whose Lives Were Torn Apart  Levine, Mark, 2008. Ebury Press, ALSO published as Monster Tornado
It was April 3, 1974 and the United States was in turmoil. Crime was soaring, unemployment and inflation were out of control, the Vietnam War had just come to a demoralising end and the soon-to-be-disgraced President Nixon was on his way out of office. Then, over a sixteen-hour period, nature stepped forward with its own display of mayhem, as an unprecedented outbreak of 148 tornadoes descended on the country. The destruction wrought was horrifying - hundreds killed, thousands of homes demolished, a billion dollars in losses sustained. Amidst this chaos, acclaimed journalist Mark Levine follows the devastating path of a twin set of F5s - the rarest, and most deadly, category of tornado, and their impact on a rich cast of intertwined characters.

Early American Tornadoes  1586-1870, Ludlam, D.M., 1970. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,Boston, 219p.
Excerpt from the Foreword: The purpose of this work is twofold: (1) to set down in chronological order and in proper geographical setting the meteorological characteristics of all reported storms of the tornado classification which have occurred within the present United States prior to 1870, and (2) to describe the intellectual effort made by early American scientists in analyzing and in attempting to understand the nature of the tornado and related local severe storms.

Superstorms: Extreme Weather in the Heart of the Heartland  Swails, Terry, 2005. Faircountry Press, 160p.
Situated between the warm breezes of the Gulf of Mexico and the bitter cold of the Yukon, the Midwest experiences some of the nation's most dramatic weather. The collision of the elements leads to superstorms featuring extreme temperature swings, violent tornadoes, giant hailstones, destructive floods, and blinding blizzards. Terry Swails, one of the Midwest's leading meteorologists, is your guide to this weather-ravaged region. With stunning photographs and in-depth accounts, Superstorms chronicles events that have shaped the lives of generations of Midwesterners. Come experience some of the world's most ferocious storms!

Tornado: A Look Back at Louisville's Dark Day, April 3, 1974  Butler, William S., 2004. Butler Books, 176p.
Louisville, Kentucky's recent history has no more vivid moment than the tornado which tore a path of destruction across the city and Jefferson County on April 3, 1974. This book is a 30th anniversary look back at the events of that day as seen through the images of journalists, freelance photographers and ordinary people who grabbed their cameras and recorded the destruction that occurred. Complementing the photographs are the compelling personal accounts and recollections of people whose fate brought them into contact with the storm, and who lived to tell the tale.

Tornado!: The 1974 Super Outbreak (X-Treme Disasters That Changed America)  Ball, Jacqueline A., 2005. Bearport Publishing, 32p.
This children's non-fiction book describes the events of April 3, 1974, when more than 140 tornadoes cut through 13 states in 16 hours, leaving hundreds dead and thousands injured and without shelter.

The True Story Of Our National Calamity Of Flood, Fire and Tornado  Marshall, Logan, 1913. L. T. Myers, 320p.
From the original front cover: "The appalling loss of life, the terrible suffering of the homeless, the struggles for safety, and the noble herosm of those who risked life to save loved ones; the unprecedented loss of property, resulting in the laying waste of flourishing cities and towns. How the Whole Nation Joined in the Work of Relief." This is available as a free ebook, digitized by Google, at

Death Rides the Sky: The Story of the 1925 Tri-State Tornado  Mason, Angela, 2011. Black Oak Media, 348p.
On an ordinary spring day in 1925, folks in the Midwest were going about business as usual: attending school, preparing the fields, mining coal, and tending their stores. Little did they know that between 1 and 4:30 p.m. on March 18, their lives would be changed forever in an event that defined the weather in the central U.S. From the hills of the southeastern Ozarks to the plains of the Hoosier heartland and across the developing communities of southern Illinois, the Tri-State Tornado destroyed cities, devoured whole farms, and set the record for the most deaths, injuries, and monetary damage, a record which remains standing to this day. This is the story as told directly by nearly four dozen survivors and eyewitnesses, in the most comprehensive account of the Tri-State Tornado ever to be compiled.

America's Greatest Flood and Tornado Calamity  Prochnow, Herbert Victor; Thomas Herbert; J. Martin Miller, 1913. University of Michigan, 320p.
From the original front cover: "Authentic Story of these Appalling Disasters. Graphic and complete account of the terrible floods in Ohio, Indiana and other states. Hundreds swept into eternity. Soul-stirring stories told by eyewitnesses. Nation responds to President Wilson's appeal for aid. The Omaha tornado killed may people and destroyed and wrecked thousands of homes. Thrilling accounts of miraculous escapes from death. Millions of dollars worth of property destroyed." This is available as a free ebook, digitized by Google, at 

What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South's Tornado Alley  Cross, Kim with foreword by Rick Bragg, 2015. Altria Books, 320p.
Immersive reporting and dramatic storytelling set you right in the middle of the horrific superstorm of April 2011, a weather event that killed 348 people: April 27, 2011, marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. It was the deadliest day of the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, which saw 348 people killed, entire neighborhoods erased, and $11 billion in damage. The biggest of the tornadoes left scars across the land so wide they could be seen from space. But from the terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes, neighbors and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth.


The Children’s Blizzard  Laskin, David, 2004. Harper Collins Publisher, 307p.
Thousands of impoverished Northern European immigrants were promised that the prairie offered "land, freedom, and hope." The disastrous blizzard of 1888 revealed that their free homestead was not a paradise but a hard, unforgiving place governed by natural forces they neither understood nor controlled, and America’s heartland would never be the same.

Children of the Storm: The True Story of the Pleasant Hill School Bus Tragedy  Harner, Ariana, 2001. Fulcrum Publishing, 160p.
Imagine being one of twenty children, ages seven to fourteen, stranded in a makeshift school bus for thirty-three hours during the worst blizzard to hit Colorado in over fifty years. The morning of March 26, 1931 began with sixty-degree weather and students excitedly running to board Carl Miller's bus for their routine ride to Pleasant Hill School. By the time they arrived at the schoolhouses, it was dark, windy, and cold---obvious signs of a spring snowstorm. Soon after, following the teachers' orders to drive the children to a nearby home for safety, Miller lost his sense of direction in the ensuing whiteout and lodged the bus in a ditch. When rescuers found the survivors a day and a half later, the blizzard had taken its deadly toll. — Google Books

Early American Winters, 1604-1820  Ludlum, D.M., 1968. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston, 283p.
On November 19, 1620, the 180-ton Mayflower was sailing southward off Cape cod, Massachusetts, heading for its destination near New York harbor. Why it turned about and anchored off Plymouth is explained in one of the storm studies unfolded by David Ludlum in his book Early American Winters, 1604-1820. — Intro to review by W.J. Roberts in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1908-1984).

Early American Winters II, 1821-1870  Ludlum, D.M., 1968. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston. 257p.
This book is the second written by David Ludlum to expose and explain what the famously frozen season was like to the country's founders. From the Northeast to the South and the former Northwest storms of every kind blew, bit, and blued faces and facades everywhere. It shows that the winters, while variable, were seemingly more severe than what we in the 21st Century have to deal with. The wind roared louder, the cold was longer lasting and the snow was deeper. It speaks of winters many of our ancestors told their families from generation to generation about. If you're someone who doesn't like the snow, wind, and cold, well read these books and maybe you'll think that the winter is only a slight chill compared to what the founding fathers faced so long ago.

The Long Winter  Wilder, Laura Ingalls, 1953. Harper Collins, 352p.
The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.