The good folks at William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins, have sent me another book to review. ″The Storm of the Century″ by Al Roaker. Yep, Al Roaker! The fun-loving NBC weatherman who once made a ′Number 2′ in his shorts while visiting Barack Obama at the White House. What can you say? The ′Tennessee Quick-step′ can happen anytime, anywhere. This new book, which goes on sale tomorrow, is a history of the greatest weather disaster in America. In 1900, the city of Galveston, Texas was literally wiped off the map by a major hurricane. Some 6,000 people died! So is this a good book to read on the subject?
If you have never, ever, heard of this moment in American history, then Roaker′s book does provide you with a good time line of the event with plenty of anecdotal stories of personal survival. As a fan of both history and weather since as a youth, I did not learn anything new from it. Al does try to inject a racial component to the story, as well as connections with man-made global warming and climate change. But he only tries, it is not the main crux of the book. So if you can get past that, then the book is useful.
Mind you, the story of the Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900 has been told and retold many times before. There are many books about it, most of which Roaker referenced to in his treatment, as well as a number of television documentaries. I′ve seen the PBS ′American Experience′ version, which was very good, as well as others aired on the History, Science and Discovery channels. National Geographic had a good one, too!
Some of you may be wondering why am I reviewing a book by Al Roaker? I live life by a simple set of rules. One of which is that if you send me a copy of a book to review, I′ll review it. Is this a great book, a definitive history of the event? Nope! Is this an easy to read book, perfect for the beach or a sunny afternoon in a hammock with a pitcher of lemonade? Yeah, it′ll do. Would I go out and pay full price right away? Nah, I′d wait a month or two when you can find it in any dollar bin at any bookstore.