In the near end of the previous century, Isaac Cline who is Texas chief weather man did not believe that any storm could seriously harm the city Galveston. This is a growing metropolis located at the Gulf Coast. A massive hurricane hit the city in September 1900. It proved him terribly wrong at a significant personal cost. In the book, Isaac Cline describes his personal experiences during the occurrence of this extremely malicious hurricane. This story is an excellent masterpiece showing a phenomenon of mankind versus nature; the author achieves this goal pretty well. He uses the number of survivors’ accounts without ignoring the hurricane itself. The book comes out to prove the entire human race that it is folly to think that they can outdo the nature.

The Plot of the Book

Erik Larson achieves dominant status in America when he goes far beyond ordinary in recounting this tragedy that hit Galveston. The story has a distinct focus on Isaac Monroe Cline who is in charge of the Weather Bureau. It also shows his life as a scientist. Larson has conducted a tireless and supremely exhaustive research on the effects of the hurricane and criticized the state's preparedness to disaster (Larson, 2000). Revealing a primitive experience of hurricane forecasting makes the context of the book so broad that it even won the American Awards. Generous accounts of Cline’s training and his role in the country as the turn-of-the-century scientist define Cline’s world. His family, neighbors, and friends surround his text. This makes us feel the connection between the victims of the hurricane and the bureaucracy of the Weather Bureau. In this book, sibling rivalry has also been expounded. There is a life-long conflict between Cline and his blood brother. His brother Joseph is a subordinate broadcaster, and they both experience personal losses that would haunt them until their death.

Isaac Cline Character Analysis

Isaac Cline is a highly trained first generation employee in the New US Weather Bureau. Based on his expertise and experience in his field, Cline proposed that a wall should be erected at the sea. However, Galveston dismissed the proposal claiming that it was needless and a waste of state resources. In 1900, his words, attitude, and his greatest fears were confirmed when Galveston was hit by an eighteen hour storm. At the turn of the 19th century, the town of Galveston was growing rapidly. In fact, the Galveston city had become the nation’s largest cotton port at that time. This island is the third busiest port in the world, considering that it receives so many immigrants from Europe (Clark 1988).

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According to the description of events by the author, nothing seemed impossible. American warships steam to China, and American engineers fix to build the Panama Canal. The weather also seems to be in control at this stage of the book. The US Weather Bureau that had been recently established conducted a weather monitoring network. This network included 96 railway posts, 9 coastal stations, 2562 volunteer observers, 132 river outposts, 12 West Indies stations, and 158 regular observatories. The analysis conducted by the newly formed Bureau is a comprehensive one, and it appears to everyone that its predictions were right.

Symbolysm in "The Isaac's Storm"

The storm remains hidden in most parts of the book. It is poorly judged by the Weather Bureau forecasters until it hits the city. During the days before the hurricane hits the place, Cline was erroneously misled by his superiors in the Washington DC. His instincts sharpened when the Galveston beach stared to experience massive swells. In the end, a heavy dose of irony serves his humility (Dickerson 1988). Cline knew about tropical cyclones more than any man in the Weather Bureau, he was not able to foresee the extant of the disaster and to recommend evacuations on time.

Through this book, Isaac Cline experiences a hard lesson realizing that nature is very unpredictable especially when it comes to the extremes of nature’s disastrous behavior. In the evening of that day, Galveston city and the entire nation was hit by a terrible hurricane. In the face of the fury of the nature, Galveston experiences the worst natural disaster in the American history leaving it in the state of powerlessness.

The storm started as a small plume volume of air off the African Coast. This volume of air happened to feed on summer heat as it moved towards the West. From the heat, the volume of air gained energy until it became potentially disastrous. Cables were taken to the Washington’s headquarters of Weather Bureau. The cables clearly showed the ship encounters due to the growing storm in an area off Cuba. Afterwards, the storm crossed Florida, and it arrived at the Gulf. Instead of meandering like most gulf storms do; this storm aimed straight at the Galveston (Lawrence, 1988). The straight focus on Galveston allowed the storm to gain even more energy, as described in the book by Larson. It pushed a towering wall of water along its leading edge. In the evening of September the 8th, the wind and water slammed Galveston with a great magnitude.


From the foregoing, The Isaac's Storm: a Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History is an extraordinarily comprehensive book. It may not only be relevant to hurricanes but also to all kinds of natural disasters. This book is particularly beneficial because of the ideas it articulates about the preparedness of individuals to impending disasters. Also, the book serves as a proof to the human race that nature is so dynamic and unpredictable. It provides food for thought for today’s rapidly growing meteorology field in the quest to address disasters on time to protect human life and property from the fury of nature.

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