"Isaac's Storm" and the 1900 Galveston Hurricane
A report on Erik Larson's book "Isaac's Storm" that explores the role of the U.S. Weather Bureau and Isaac Cline in the 1900 Galveston hurricane.
# 152330 | 2,021 words | 1 source | MLA | 2013 |
Published on Jan 28, 2013 in Literature (American) , Geology and Geophysics (Meteorology) , History (U.S. 1900-1930)
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The paper reviews Larson's book "Isaac's Storm" that chronicles the days before and after the 1900 Galveston hurricane and also explores how the Weather Bureau reacted and what the causes were behind the human response in Galveston. Looking at the reasons Larson gives for why the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to predict the hurricane strike against the Texas corner, the paper addresses the bureau's fight for public respectability, their error that the storm would move from Cuba northward and up the Atlantic coast, their underestimation of the force of the storm and Cline's forecasting and judgment errors. The paper also describes how in the aftermath, the U.S. Weather Bureau lied about their efficacy and level of foresight.
From the Paper:"There are several reasons Larson's account gives for why the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to predict the hurricane strike against the Texas corner. The first has to do with the bureau's fight for public respectability. There were competing views in society about the value and accuracy of weather prediction. Many believed that the "science" of meteorology and its instruments were inept. Further, some within the bureau were rogues, accused of all kinds of unethical behavior and shoddy work practices. Employees were fired during a formal investigation of the weather service. The Weather Bureau of the time was engaged in the struggle to attain respectability. It was also a time of expansion. The telegraph enabled people to receive daily weather reports from the bureau. Larson says, "Demand for better and more useful forecasts intensified" (63). These facts were important because of how they shaped the bureau chief's (Willis Moore) responses.
"Moore was determined to shape up the bureau by instilling strict methods of forecast verification and discipline. He implemented many reforms to boost the reputation of the bureau and his own political status. Part of this involved a rift with Cuban meteorologists. Moore and his man Dunwoody in Cuba were prejudiced, claiming that the Cubans were merely superstitious and unscientific. Moore wanted absolute control."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Larson, Erik. Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History. New York: Crown Publishers, 1999.
Cite this Book Review:
"Isaac's Storm" and the 1900 Galveston Hurricane (2013, January 28) Retrieved December 10, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/isaac-storm-and-the-1900-galveston-hurricane-152330/
""Isaac's Storm" and the 1900 Galveston Hurricane" 28 January 2013. Web. 10 December. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/isaac-storm-and-the-1900-galveston-hurricane-152330/>