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A Furious Sky

The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes

(Liveright (imprint of W. W. Norton), ISBN 978-1631496226, 369 pages, 118 images, color insert, August 4, 2020, $29.95)​


From the moment European colonists laid violent claim to this land, hurricanes have had a profound and visceral impact on American history—yet, no one has attempted to write the definitive account of America’s entanglement with these meteorological behemoths. Now, bestselling historian Eric Jay Dolin presents the five-hundred-year story of American hurricanes, from the nameless storms that threatened Columbus’ New World voyages, to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the escalation of hurricane season as a result of global warming. Populating his narrative with unlikely heroes such as Benito Viñes, the nineteenth-century Jesuit priest whose revelatory methods for predicting hurricanes saved countless lives, and journalist Dan Rather, whose coverage of a 1961 hurricane would change broadcasting history, Dolin uncovers the often surprising ways we respond to natural crises. A necessary work of environmental and cultural history, A Furious Sky will change the way we understand the storms on the horizon of America’s future.

A Furious Sky is available for pre-ordering now.

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Early Blurbs for A Furious Sky (more to come by the publication date--August 4, 2020)


"The big blows of centuries far and near have long deserved our attention and never more than today. As Eric Jay Dolin reminds us, hurricanes have been pivot points in the course of human history. Now, they are catapulting us toward our future, underscoring the compelling nature of A Furious Sky, which in rigor and scope is as formidable as the weather outside."—Jack Davis, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Gulf

"A Furious Sky is the hurricane book to end all hurricane books.  Eric Jay Dolin's work is authoritative, exhaustive, and gripping in its accounts of the deadly storms that have pounded our shores for five centuries.  I felt the barometric pressure drop with every page I turned."—Les Standiford, author of Last Train To Paradise.

"A riveting mix of natural science, institutional history and human experience. All in a great read."—H.W. Brands, author of Dreams of El Dorado and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist

"Drawing on abundant sources, including material from the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service, and Hurricane Research Division, and with an academic background in environmental policy, Dolin, who has a doctorate in environmental policy, offers an authoritative and lively history of hurricanes . . . A sweeping, absorbing history of nature's power."(Starred) Kirkus Review by James Pekoll

"Dolin's weather drama reveals just how horrific these monster storms can be. But this compelling book is much more than a meteorological history, it is a remarkably human story of people struggling with nature at its fiercest and the myriad ways hurricanes have affected the course of human events. . . . Many of those true tales of survival and loss will tug at the readers’ heartstrings as Dolin makes them vivid and memorable. He also chronicles the intellectual history of individual meteorologists on quests to understand the dynamics, predict the patterns, and mitigate the damage of hurricanes."—(Starred) Booklist review

"This is a compelling fact and anecdote-filled story of the most dramatic storms to have stunned and sometimes fractured America's coastal communities. But it also a riveting foretelling of our future as the most destructive hurricanes in the past five centuries become commonplace. A Furious Sky joins that short list of books that are both must-reads and armchair page-turners."—Tom Clavin, author of Dodge City

"Black Flags, Blue Waters is a fast-paced scholarly narrative about seamen who turned rogue to terrorize the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Atlantic. . . . Dolin has produced an elegantly written history. His streaming writing style makes for enjoyable reading, and his penchant for distinguishing where fact has been garnished and morphed into legend creates sundry unexpected revelations. These romantic or repulsive sea rovers continue to captivate the imaginations of the public. Over the years, many books about pirates have been published, but Black Flags, Blue Waters is distinctive and an excellent addition to this subdivision of maritime history."Louis Arthur Norton, Sea History Magazine

"You can’t really understand hurricanes without knowing their history. Eric Jay Dolin brings America’s great hurricanes alive with rich stories about the storms and the people whose lives they changed forever. Understanding our hurricane history gives hurricane science depth and meaning. This is a hurricane book for everyone."—Bryan Norcross, Meteorologist and Hurricane Specialist, WPLG-TV Miami, and author, My Hurricane Andrew Story

"A Furious Sky is an epic narrative of the most significant hurricanes that have affected the United States. It is a fascinating book that weaves together history, science, policy, political fallout, and the inevitable human drama of hurricanes. Gripping and entertaining, A Furious Sky is a worthy addition to the literature on these great storms."—Lourdes B. Aviles, Professor of Meteorology at Plymouth State University, Chair of the American Meteorological Society History Committee, and author of Taken by Storm, 1938

“A delightful blend of science, history, and masterful storytelling. Each of Dolin’s storm stories carries its own horrifying details and historical significance. A Furious Sky puts Dolin in the lofty company of Nathaniel Philbrick and Lincoln Paine among the most important, and downright entertaining, chroniclers of American maritime history.”Peter Houlahan, author of Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery

“Dolin delivers a fast-paced and informative history of American hurricanes … Packed with intriguing miscellanea, this accessible chronicle serves as a worthy introduction to the subject. Readers will be awed by the power of these storms and the wherewithal of people to recover from them.”—Publishers Weekly

"Dolin (Leviathan) continues his series of popular histories with nautical or coastal themes with this exploration of hurricanes in the United States, deftly weaving together tales of tragedy, heroism, and scientific progress from colonial times until the present. Focusing on major storms and their impacts on the history of the United States, he draws from contemporaneous accounts to evoke the drama and power of these destructive storms. . . . VERDICT Weather watchers, science buffs, and social historians will enjoy this history of the hurricane both as a chronology and for the individual tales of surviving nature's fury.Library Journal review by Wade Lee-Smith

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© 2016 by Eric Jay Dolin

Fur, Fortune, and Empire Cover