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In his first book, Williams sheds light on the obscure hurricanes that battered America's east coast all the way up to Newfoundland in September 1775. But this account promises more than it delivers: the first vaunted "storm at the deciding moment of the American Revolution" affected the colonies very little, while the second hurricane hit Canada and killed some 4,000 cod fishermen, but is tangential to the American uprising. Williams consequently presses the "storm of war" metaphor and fills out the book with lengthy descriptions of what was going on in various American cities hit by the hurricane. He is on surer ground in his discussions about how weather influenced political affairs and its potent religious symbolism. Were the storms evidence of God's desire to punish the rebels for their insolence toward King George III? If so, then why were the British prevented from attacking Dorchester Heights by a fierce storm, and why was Lord Cornwallis's plan to escape from Yorktown frustrated by a powerful gale? Thinner than his first, this book offers some illumination on the colonial worldview, but little on the Revolution. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.