Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America

by Jim Murphy
audiobook: 2.5 hours
narrated by Taylor Mali

Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America*** About the Book ***

This is a very brief middle grade book about the devastating March 1888 blizzard that brought the Northeastern United States to a standstill. It also details the many changes that came to society as a result of this particular storm.

*** Why I Listened To It ***

It was available for immediate download from my library and I’m always interested in non-fiction like this.

*** My Thoughts ***

I highly recommend this little book. It packed a ton of info into a very short time space and was fascinating to listen to.

Although it was huge and powerful, this blizzard wasn’t the biggest or most damaging in American history; rather, it was the location and timing that made it vitally important. Two storms came together to hit the urban Northeast right when cities were really beginning to grow. It brought the modern world to a standstill and cost many lives. Employees braved the freezing wind and blowing snow to get to work for fear of losing their jobs, only to find that their employers hadn’t opened the buildings. City government didn’t know how to deal with the sheer amount of snow the fall, nor did they feel it was their responsibility.

I was fascinated by the final section of the book that listed all the changes made to American life because of this blizzard. Here’s a brief list of some of the changes: establishment of the US Weather Service, creation of snow emergency plans in cities, placement of live wires underground rather than overhead, establishment of anti-litter laws and trash disposal standards, implementation of the Subway in New York City, and much more. Having experienced the enormous snowfall of this past winter on the East Coast, I am extremely grateful for many of these changes.

*** Your Thoughts ***

This book mentioned another storm, called the Children’s Blizzard, and I know there’s a book about that – I’m going to check it out sometime soon.

Have you read either this book or the Children’s Blizzard book? What did you think of them?

What natural occurrence affects your area (high tides, hurricanes, snow, tornadoes, etc.)? Do you know what happened in history that led to your city/town’s response plan for these emergencies? Do you know if there’s a book about it?


bermudaonion said...

I thought this book was about last winter at first. It sounds facinating!

Donna said...

I've experienced several blizzards (one major one that I can recall) when I lived in the Midwest. Now, in the Southwest, I experienced my first hurricane with Ike a couple of years ago. I'm gonna look for this book at my local library and see what else is available. Thanks for a great review.

I also looked at your blizzard photos from back in March. They brought back a lot of memories.

Ruthibelle said...

wow. The difference one blizzard can make. Great review.

Heather J. said...

bermudaonion - Now THAT would have been funny!

Donna - The whole concept of extreme weather is fascinating to me. If you come up with a book about hurricanes in history please do let me know - I'd love to check it out. And thanks so much for coming to comment on my blog!

Ruthibelle - Yes, it truly did change American society. Thanks so much for coming to visit my blog!

Beth F said...

I loved this book! I read it before I started blogging, but I liked it enough to write up a mini-review last summer. It was fantastic on audio.

I even did some Internet searching to find photographs.

Heather J. said...

Beth F - So glad to find another person who listened to it! It really was quite good. I'll have to go check out your review and see what you had to say. :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This sounds like something I would really be interested in too. I am going to look for this one. Thanks Heather.

Heather J. said...

Sheila - I was so surprised that this was a middle grade book - it was so well written and contained so much info. I hope you can find a copy to check out yourself!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Heather, I haven't read THE BLIZZARD, but thought THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD (David Laskin) was superb! Heartbreaking about loss of life due to the storm, decisions, miscalculations, early meterology, and the limits of communication. I wonder if it's available as an audiobook?

Heather J. said...

Dawn - I haven't found it yet but I'm going to keep trying - it sounds like a great one to listen to. And I think you'd really enjoy this book as well - it seems very similar, and it was fascinating to me.

Nan said...

I think I'll get this for Tom for his birthday. He loves this stuff. Thanks so much. I'd never heard of the book.

Heather J. said...

Nan - Ooh, that's a great idea! It's a quick and easy read but fascinating too, and perfect to read in the winter. I hope Tom enjoys it. :)

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