Stormchasers: The Hurricane Hunters and Their Fateful Flight into Hurricane Janetby David Toomey
Fifty years after Isaac's Storm, a riveting story of the first Hurricane Hunters, and the one crew who paid the ultimate price."In a virtual age when tempests are monitored by global positioning and The Weather Channel, Stormchasers reminds us that our first understanding of hurricanes was directly built on the risks and sacrifices of living,/em>/p>… See more details below
Fifty years after Isaac's Storm, a riveting story of the first Hurricane Hunters, and the one crew who paid the ultimate price."In a virtual age when tempests are monitored by global positioning and The Weather Channel, Stormchasers reminds us that our first understanding of hurricanes was directly built on the risks and sacrifices of living, breathing heroes," writes Hampton Sides (author of Ghost Soldiers).
In September 1955, Navy Lieutenant Commander Grover B. Windham and a crew of eight flew out of Guantánamo Bay into the eye of Hurricane Janet swirling in the Caribbean: a routine weather reconnaissance mission from which they never returned. In the wake of World War II, the Air Force and the Navy had discovered a new civilian arena where daring pilots could test their courage and skill. These Hurricane Hunters flew into raging storms to gauge their strength and predict their paths. Without computer, global positioning, or satellite support, they relied on rudimentary radar systems to locate the hurricane's eye and estimated the drift of their aircraft by looking at windblown waves below. Drawing from Navy documents and interviews with members of the squadron and relatives of the crew, Stormchasers reconstructs the ill-fated mission of Windham's crew from preflight checks to the chilling moment of their final transmission.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- NOOK Book
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Meet the Author
David Toomey is an associate professor of English and director of the Professional Writing and Technical Communication Program at the University of Massachusetts−Amherst. He lives in Amherst.
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boring on the way in, and then you have to fight to get through it. The bulk of the book deals with the history of attempts to understand hurricanes; the tale of a doomed flight provides narrative continuity. I know quite a bit about some of the history discussed, and despite (or perhaps because of) the jargon, a lot of it is wrong -- which makes me wonder about the accuracy of the parts about which I know less. It is also full of careless errors (e.g., typos, use of the wrong homonym, obvious mistakes in converting between Celsius and Fahrenheit, casual references to things that don't get described until later in the book). What annoyed me most, though, were some of the creative liberties taken with this "creative nonfiction" (as the jacket bio calls it): pseudoscientific assertions and distortions of fact made to achieve literary ends. It may be that the flight's open-endedness just is not compelling enough, and its historical context just too limited, to make this an engrossing story. Or maybe it needs a different author. As this genre goes, it's a disappointing book: poorly edited and (in my opinion) of questionable accuracy in the historical details. The preface and prologue should satisfy your curiosity, unless you want all the details of the flight in question. Even then, life is too short to read bad books.
I liked this book a whole lot. I read his (Toomey's) other one, too--Amelia Earhart's Daughters and liked it. I hope he keeps writing stuff about aviation history. He really knows how to get your attention and keep it.