Discussion Forums - History

Topic: 2012 Natural Force Choice Discusison

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Kat (polbio) -
Subject: 2012 Natural Force Choice Discusison
Date Posted: 1/1/2012 6:26 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
Back To Top

Post a review of the book you chose for this category here

Date Posted: 1/11/2012 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
Back To Top

Good book karma! Picked up The San Francisco Earthquake by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts for free today. I haven't heard anything about this particular book, but I also haven't studied up exculsively on the 1906 earthquake. Here's my chance.

Anyone heard about this title? Or others on the same subject?



Last Edited on: 1/11/12 10:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 1/12/2012 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
Back To Top

I havent heard of that one., But Simon Winchester (one of my favorite authors) wrote one called A Crack in The Edge of the World. He started with the Geologic make up of the USA and worked his way to the big earthquake of 1906, covering all the geologic history of all the US. He is a travel writer, so he describes his journey across the US, visiting all the relevant sites, like the Continental Divide. He also gets into the human history behind it.  It is extremely interesting and he writes in a way that keeps the subject from being dry.  He writes a lot of books dealing with geologic events in history, such as the earthquake, or KRakatoa's explosion in 1893. I posted on the other thread, my favorite of his books is Atlantic which is the history of the Atlantic Ocean. THen recently I discovered one of his books I had on my WL is his history of the Pacific Ocean which he wrote in 1991. I am reading that one right now. It is interesting to see the political and economic makeup of that region at the time I was in HIgh School. THough a lot has changed in the past 20 yrs.

Date Posted: 1/12/2012 2:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 210
Back To Top

Would The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough  be acceptable for this category?  I realize that technically this is a man-made rather than a natural disaster.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 1/12/2012 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
Back To Top

I think it would count. It caused a lot of damage. I am using a book about the London Fire, which I am sure was man made.

Date Posted: 1/13/2012 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
Back To Top

I started The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin.  This is about a major blizzard in the midwest states that happened in 1888, it apparently blew up within minutes on an otherwise mild day, and killed a lot of people (mostly children) who were unprepared for it.  So far there's a lot of information about what life in the plains states were like for immigrants, and also information about the weather service and forecasts back then.  (I never even thought about what weather forecasting would be like in the 1880s.)  Very good so far.

Diane

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 4:28 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
Back To Top

IT sounds it. I have never even heard of that blizzard.

Date Posted: 1/24/2012 6:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 210
Back To Top

I just finished Johnstown Flood by David McCullough.  He is a master of making historical events come alive and this book is no exception.  In fact, I found myself at times wondering why Hollywood hasn't noticed this and turned it into a disaster movie.  He did an excellent job of describing the events so that I felt like I could actually see them happen.  I enjoyed all the details of individuals involved.  I also enjoyed the discussion of the aftermath including how the press handled the event and responses from the general public.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/25/2012 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

I might try that book, Cindy.  I've been to Johnstown and visited the flood museum when I was a young kid, and it was pretty memorable.

I also got to ride on the world's steepest railroad.

Date Posted: 1/28/2012 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
Back To Top

I finished The Children's Blizzard, very good.  There were a couple of reasons why this particular blizzard was so bad, one was how quickly it blew up.  The combination of weather conditions were just perfect for extreme cold and wind, and the fronts hit each other so forcefully that the cold moved like a freight train--the temperature dropped 18 degrees in 3 minutes.  They also said that the way the fronts came together they broke the snow flakes up into tiny little ice crystals which coated everything, including people's eyes.  So, it sounds like a once in a lifetime storm.

The book recreates the stories of individual people and families and how they coped (or didn't) with the storm.  There were so many deaths because the snow made visibility so poor that they couldn't see more than a few of feet in front of them.  And since the prairies were so flat and featureless there were no landmarks to help them see where they were.  Very, very sad stories.

I also finished Sala's Gift, the story of a woman who was imprisoned in a Nazi work camp during WW II.  She kept a journal and letters during her years there, somehow hiding them from the guards through the entire time.  After the war she kept the journal and letters, but never said a word about her experiences to her family until she was elderly and sick.  Her daughter got the whole story from her before she died, and is the one who wrote the book, using her mother's interviews and her letters, etc.  Very moving book.

And finally, I've started Triangle, about the Triangle factory fire.  I tell you, after this book I'm going to take a break from these depressing stories, I've read too many of them in a row.  Time for a long string of mystery books!

Diane

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 1/28/2012 7:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
Back To Top

Lol, Diane, yes these books sound very good, but I could imagine all one after the other would be rather depressing!! Do you have some good light hearted cozies to read??

I read a book about the Triangle Factory, oh probably 10 yrs ago. I remember the majority of the story, but couldnt tell you which book it was. frown

Date Posted: 2/27/2012 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

I read The White Hurricane by David Brown for this entry. The hurricane was on the Great Lakes and the information was interesting and well written. I learned that the world's only floating post office/zip code is on Detroit River.

http://jwwestcott.com/



Last Edited on: 2/27/12 9:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/27/2012 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

I'd like to recommend a book for the To Sea category, if anyone is casting around for one.  It's The Cadillac Desert: the American West and its Disappearing Water, by Marc Reisner.  IMO, sufficient potable water (not to mention water for washing and irrigating and making beer and cooling nuclear power plants, etc.) for the population of the West is going to be a bigger problem than many people today have any idea about.