The Great Hurricane

  • by Cherie Burns
  • Narrated by Anna Fields
  • 5 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This is the spellbinding hour-by-hour reconstruction of the most destructive and powerful storm ever to strike New England. On the night of September 20, 1938, the news on the radio was full of Hitler's pending invasion of Czechoslovakia. Severe weather wasn't mentioned; only light rain was forecast for the following day. In a matter of hours, however, a hurricane of unprecedented force would tear through one of the wealthiest and most populated stretches of coastline in America, obliterating communities from Long Island to Providence, destroying entire fishing fleets from Montauk to Narragansett Bay, and leaving 700 people dead. They never knew what hit them. Early that morning, several fishermen heading out on calm seas noticed a sudden drop in the barometer and decided to turn back. Hurtling toward them at the unheard-of speed of 67 miles per hour was a fierce storm. It struck Long Island first with the tide at an all-time high under a full, equinox moon. The sea rose out of its shores like a demon, with waves riding a surge of 50 feet that hit the earth so hard they were registered by a seismograph in Alaska. Winds whipped up to 186 miles per hour, trashing boats and smashing homes from West Hampton to Connecticut and Rhode Island. Using newspaper reports, survivor testimony, and archival sources, Cherie Burns reconstructs this harrowing day and the amazing tales of heroism, survival, and loss that occurred. Those who survived still remember the Great Hurricane as the most terrifying moment of their lives. Burns' masterful storytelling follows the storm's monstrous path and preserves for posterity the way the Great Hurricane changed New England forever.

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What the Critics Say



2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Nonfiction
"From start to finish, this powerful story of nature's fury and human survival pulls the reader in and doesn't let go." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mesmerizing book!

Well written, thoroughly researched and enjoyable account of the 1938 storm that greatly affected the Eastern coast of the U.S. I listened to this non-stop on a (business) road trip and it kept me captivated, even in the wee hours of the night (during which I usually listen to scifi or mystery or other plot-driven fiction to keep me from drifting.)

Highly recommend for any history aficionados or storm watchers.
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- Tracey "I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)"

Great Storm Stories

The book is well researched and well presented, with anecdotes of many people and how they fared through this incredible hurricane. The reader handles the material very well. A book like this reads quickly because it's organized in a way that allows the events to tell their own exciting tales. It's also a fascinating reminder of how much day to day life in this country has changed in just a few generations, not all for the better.
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- Doug

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-26-2005
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.