Florida’s Hurricane History
by Jay Barnes
University of North Carolina Press 1998
‘Tis the season. Eye walls. Storm surges. Huge waves battering the coastline. Whole buildings picked up and carried off, or just shattered to kindling. Flooding rains. A wind that roars so loud that people cowering beneath the wreckage of their former domiciles can’t hear one another when shouting into each other’s ears. Large roofing timbers thrown harder than a Nolan Ryan fastball. Hurricanes. Tra la.
Fuckers are nastier’n hell, but they exert a peculiar attraction to the human psyche. Kinda like killer sharks or sleek military attack aircraft, or something. They have a ferocious beauty that can’t be denied, even as they also possess the ability to cause terrible pain and sorrow in both victims and family members.
What’s up with that? Dunno. Some kinda flaw in the human soul, I guess. Consider me guilty as charged, I’m utterly fascinated by hurricanes. And so this book. Which is just about as plain vanilla as it gets. Thirty some odd pages of introductory stuff followed by the main meat and potatoes, which is basically a long section giving a brief recap of individual HURRICANES (tropical storms are NOT included) just in FLORIDA (everywhere else is not included). Records are pretty sketchy up until the end of the eighteen hundreds. After that, there were enough people around to ensure that somebody, somewhere, was gonna get their ass kicked when a hurricane made landfall in Florida. And the survivors would tell the tale.
Amazing stories. Utterly fascinating. But with a dark undertone that never leaves you. Right there in the beginning of the book, there’s a forties or early fifties looking photo of a guy with a most peculiarly serious look on his face, lifting a child’s tricycle from a strewn field of water and rubble in front of a house or something. There’s no child in sight.