9781585746071 / 158574607X

The Forgotten Storm: The Great Tri-state Tornado of 1925


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Publisher:The Lyons Press, 2002



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About the book:

Wallace Akin was two years old when the Tri-State Tornado picked up his house-with him and his mother inside-and dropped it atop two other collapsed buildings. Across town, his father lay unconscious near his auto shop, close to death, and Akin's brother managed to crawl from beneath the collapsed shop. All survived. Many others were not as fortunate: Earlier that afternoon, a supercell thunderstorm had spawned a tornado so deadly that it set records against which we still measure all other twisters. The storm ripped through southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and southwest Indiana, killing 695 people and wounding 2,000, in a record-breaking 219-mile, three-and-a-half-hour path of destruction. Akin's hometown was the worst hit, losing 243 people to the tornado.

Using first-person accounts from his family and neighbors, newspaper stories, and diaries, Akin offers a blow-by-blow account of the storm from its first sighting to its final minutes. He also attempts to explain how it began-and how it changed his life.

As a young adult, Akin realized that the weather service could have warned its victims; research on tornado prediction had ceased for no apparent reason. This, combined with his upbringing in a town traumatized by weather, led him to choose a career in geography, specializing in climate. In The Forgotten Storm he explains in clear language why tornadoes happen and how we may now be making these storms more severe and more frequent. The result is a book both thrilling and horrific, one that adds to our understanding of the battle between humans and nature. (6 x 9, 224 pages, photos)

Wallace Akin was for many years a professor of geography at Drake University. He received a research Fulbright in 1961 at the University of Copenhagen and has traveled widely studying climate and related human activities. He is the author of several academic books that include material on weather and climate.

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