Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Weekend in September Review

I read this book for several reasons. First, I had read a historical romance novel for kids when I was young about the hurricane of 1900, and the tragedy of the event stuck with me. Second, this is one of the reading assignments for our 6th grade students next year. Students love it when teachers that teacher another subject have read a book that they have to read and can share it with them. Third, I wanted to look at how they handled such a hurricane after experiencing Hurricane Ike.

This book is a bit difficult for me to review, as it's non-fiction. I am not an expert in the field, but I can tell you that the factual and historical data is weaved very well with the first person accounts. The author breaks the time up into increments of a few hours, this really makes a timeline clearer as well as increases the suspense and emotional intensity. Parts of this made me laugh, parts of it made me cry. The author has a clear and direct style. The original publication date was 1957, so he was able to interview many of the survivors.

I was amazed at how quickly the 1900 Galvestonians began to recover from the hurricane. They began cleaning up and rebuilding even before outside help could reach them. The 1900 hurricane is the land-based equivalent to the sinking of the Titanic. It is the event which caused the seawall to be built, though it had been discussed before the hurricane, it was considered too expensive to build. It shifted the ideas of what could be done to protect coastal cities, just as the Titanic altered the safety regulations on cruise ships. I recommend this book highly if you are interested in history, hurricanes, or humans ability to adapt and recover from disaster.