Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy

Dutton. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780525954408. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698186224. NAT HIST
OrangeReviewStarThis fascinating history of the days before and during Hurricane Sandy offers harrowing personal histories and an incidental meteorological crash course and disaster how-to. The research that went into the book must have been a staggering effort, as Miles (writer in residence, Green Mountain Coll., writing, Chatham Univ.; All Standing; Adventures with Ari) offers meticulous detail on the experiences of many players from different walks of life and varying levels of storm experience and responsibility for others. At times the book is heartbreaking, too, with the author describing, for example, the evacuation of 20 infants "cocooned in blankets" from an New York University hospital, the last moments of sailors who simply disappeared, and a mother's frantic, fruitless effort to save her children, who were washed away. Also crushing is to learn how politics and even language choice hampered efforts to convince the public that evacuation was necessary. Many lessons are to be learned from the storm, not least of which is that safety can be more important than accuracy.
VERDICT Miles's account—this year's Five Days at Memorial—is an important record for future planners and a gripping read.
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