Galveston and the 1900 Storm: Catastrophe and Catalyst

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Overview

The Galveston storm of 1900 reduced a cosmopolitan and economically vibrant city to a wreckage-strewn wasteland where survivors struggled without shelter, power, potable water, or even the means to summon help. At least 6,000 of the city's 38,000 residents died in the hurricane. Many observers predicted that Galveston would never recover and urged that the island be abandoned. Instead, the citizens of Galveston seized the opportunity, not just to rebuild, but to reinvent the city in a thoughtful, intentional way ...

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Galveston and the 1900 Storm: Catastrophe and Catalyst

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Overview

The Galveston storm of 1900 reduced a cosmopolitan and economically vibrant city to a wreckage-strewn wasteland where survivors struggled without shelter, power, potable water, or even the means to summon help. At least 6,000 of the city's 38,000 residents died in the hurricane. Many observers predicted that Galveston would never recover and urged that the island be abandoned. Instead, the citizens of Galveston seized the opportunity, not just to rebuild, but to reinvent the city in a thoughtful, intentional way that reformed its government, gave women a larger role in its public life, and made it less vulnerable to future storms and flooding.

This extensively illustrated history tells the full story of the 1900 Storm and its long-term effects. The authors draw on survivors' accounts to vividly recreate the storm and its aftermath. They describe the work of local relief agencies, aided by Clara Barton and the American Red Cross, and show how their short-term efforts grew into lasting reforms. At the same time, the authors reveal that not all Galvestonians benefited from the city's rebirth, as African Americans found themselves increasingly shut out from civic participation by Jim Crow segregation laws. As the centennial of the 1900 Storm prompts remembrance and reassessment, this complete account will be essential and fascinating reading for all who seek to understand Galveston's destruction and rebirth.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Along with a riveting narrative of the hurricane that smashed Galveston, TX, in 1900 (killing at least 6000 out of 38,000 residents) and the heroic relief efforts afterward, readers will find absorbing the accounts of Galvestonians rebuilding their city, reshaping gender and race relations, altering the environment, and instituting the nation's first commission form of city government. Professional historians Bixel (assistant editor, Journal of Southern History) and Turner (history, Univ. of Houston, Downtown) skillfully show how the hurricane forced changes in the city's civic culture--unfortunately allowing Jim Crow modifications of segregation policy as well as economic boosterism and Progressive Era reforms. Written for both the lay reader and historian, this readable and well-illustrated book tells an interesting story of what people did before, during, and after the storm and shows how much Galveston represented urban America between 1890 and 1920. Academic and public librarians should purchase.--Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State College Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292708846
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 190
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction: "A place of unique, sensual beauty"
Chapter One. "A thousand little devils, shrieking and whistling": September 8, 1900
Chapter Two. "You brave people of Galveston": From Wreckage to Recovery
Chapter Three. "Everything that mortal men can do": Protecting Galveston Island
Chapter Four. "To attain that superior success": Recovery and Growth
Conclusion: "I will never forget those days"
Bibliographical Essay
Index
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