SCIENCES

A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes

Liveright. Aug. 2020. 432. ISBN 9781631495274. $29.95. NAT HIST
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Dolin (Leviathan) continues his series of popular histories with nautical or coastal themes with this exploration of hurricanes in the United States, deftly weaving together tales of tragedy, heroism, and scientific progress from colonial times until the present. Focusing on major storms and their impacts on the history of the United States, he draws from contemporaneous accounts to evoke the drama and power of these destructive storms. Meteorological advancements in our understanding of how hurricane storm systems form, grow, and travel as well as improvements in tracking and predictions have resulted in lower fatality rates, but growing population centers along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts have also meant increases in economic devastation. Many of the historic storms have entire books dedicated to them, but Emanuel’s High Winds is the only similar comprehensive recent work on this topic, though its approach to the meteorological aspects is much more equation- and graph-heavy. A final chapter discusses the possible ramifications of global warming on hurricane formation, intensity, and impact.
VERDICT Weather watchers, science buffs, and social historians will enjoy this history of the hurricane both as a chronology and for the individual tales of surviving nature’s fury.

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