Monday, February 08, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Blizzard!

Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America. By Jim Murphy. 2000. Scholastic. 136 pages.

On Saturday, March 10, 1888, the weather from Maine on down to Maryland was clear and unusually warm.

Oh what a difference a day makes! Reading Blizzard! made me cold...and hungry...and thankful to be living in the modern world. Not that weather forecasters always get it right. Even now. But still. Jim Murphy's Blizzard! is about a great snowstorm--the great snowstorm of 1888. It's focus is mainly on the East Coast, mainly on New York City. Though the great storm was widespread--very widespread. Still, it seemed to hit bigger cities harder. Usually because these "modern" cities had grown more dependent on modern conveniences like daily deliveries.

What did I enjoy about this one? Many things. I found an interesting story, a well-crafted narrative that was engaging. It was rich in detail. (But not in a boring fact-heavy way.) I appreciated Murphy's research. He pulled together some interesting stories, and relied on many different primary materials. There was an immediacy to it that kept me turning pages. There were things that just amazed me. Of course there were parts of this one that were devastating. But. Bad things do happen. Especially in extreme situations like this one. I think the story that effected me most was the story of the Chapell family. It was personal stories like this one that made this one so compelling, so real.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Beth F 8:24 AM  

This is a great little book. I was so surprised by all the changes that that this storm inspired: national weather service, underground transportation, buried wiring and more. My mini review is here if you're interested.

Jeane 10:58 AM  

I was just going to ask- what did the blizzard change for America? but Beth F answered it for me!

Suko 11:02 AM  

Becky, I felt cold just reading your review of this one!

I'm not sure of the dates, but apparently it was due to a blizzard that the NY subway was built. (I just noticed Beth's review. I will "check it out" as well.)

Jennifer Nunes 12:32 PM  

I'm not usually much of a nonfiction reader, but this one sounds interesting.

I just started a book review site too!

Jennie 4:12 PM  

What a great one for today! We've just cleared out the 2 feet we got this weekend, but are looking at another 10-20 inches tomorrow!

Last year, I never had to shovel.

Sandra 9:29 PM  

This sounds fascinating, I've heard of this storm but never read much about it. Looks like Maryland is getting whacked pretty hard again right now. Thanks for telling us about this one.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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