Reviews & Awards for A Furious Sky
Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction ($50,000 for the winner). Of the 395 titles eligible in the nonfiction category, only six were selected as finalists by the judges.
Editor's Choice, The New York Times Book Review (August 16, 2020)
Washington Post -- 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction for 2020
Library Journal -- One of the Best Science & Technology Books of 2020
Kirkus Reviews -- One of the top 100 nonfiction books of 2020
Booklist -- 10 Top Sci-Tech Books of 2020
Amazon.com -- One of the Best Science Books of 2020
Profiled as a recommended book to read in June 2020 issue of Scientific American
Interviewed by Pamela Paul, the editor of The New York Times Book Review Podcast
Included in Publisher Weekly's list of "notable new releases due for publication in August 2020."
Apple Books chose A Furious Sky as one of the "most anticipated books of 2020."
New London Day -- One of the Best Books of the year.
"Editor’s picks for 10 great fiction and nonfiction books to read in August"—San Antonio Express-News
". . . [L]ively chronicle of five tempestuous centuries . . . Where A Furious Sky is most compelling is in its often harrowing details. It’s filled with haunting personal stories."—Elizabeth Kolbert, The New York Times
"[Dolin] blends lovely writing with clear explanations of technical concepts like 'storm surge' and 'vertical wind shear' that a reader needs in order to understand hurricanes. . . . With active language and sharp characters, he puts us in scene . . . Dolin takes us through hurricane after hurricane. You’d think that a recounting of wrath, wreckage, and recovery would be repetitive, but A Furious Sky is far from it. Thanks to Dolin’s reporting and framing, each hurricane is a different story that delivers its own lesson about human nature."—Lyn Millner, The Los Angeles Review of Books
"[A Furious Sky is] ultra readable maritime history."—Lauren Daley, The Boston Globe
“[A] tone of astonishment runs throughout Dolin’s thoroughly engrossing book. He’s combed historical archives, searching for the hurricanes that were severe enough to commandeer the narrative, however briefly. . . . [A Furious Sky] points to the increasingly sophisticated technology that enables more accurate predictions of not only the onset but also the path of monster storms as a reason for some hope.” —Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor
“A long, fearsome history of American hurricanes . . . Fascinating and heart-wrenching.” —Michael Taube, The Washington Post
"There is nothing so likely to appeal to a mariner than a well-told tale. In Eric Jay Dolin's engaging A Furious Sky, we have a compelling series of stories with the added appeal that each of them is about something that seafarers obsess about -- a powerful tempest. . . . Dolin's ambition is to weave half a millennium of turbulent seas and powerful winds into a clear story that is, at turns, cautionary and inspiring. He has, in this clear and well-written tome, succeeded.—Richard P. O'Regan, Sea History
"A fascinating book that weaves together history, science, policy, political fallout, and the inevitable human drama of hurricanes.” —Lourdes B. Avilés, former Chair of the American Meteorological Society History Committee
"The book deftly weaves together vignettes that illustrate the historical impacts of hurricanes on people and populations and the scientific progress of understanding these storms. . . . Dolin excels at keeping the story moving in a style well established in his previous books, which include the award-winning Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America; Brilliant Beacons: The History of the American Lighthouse; and Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates. . . . [A Furious Sky] is a wonderfully researched and vividly written testament to the tragedy , suffering, and science that have given rise to our still-limited understanding of these ferocious storms."—Matt Murphy, WoodenBoat Magazine
"The presentation of the book is excellent with a critical apparatus, covering some 80 pages and far more comprehensive than might
have been expected in such a ‘popular’ book, well chosen illustrations . . . The binding is substantial and a joy to handle in this ‘throw-away’ age. There is a handsome dust jacket. All in all a matter for congratulation for the author and publisher. It should be read by all with interests in the topic and as this should include all seafarers, both active and armchair, it should be popular among those who take this journal!"—Ian R. Stone, The Mariner's Mirror
“Fascinating and engaging . . . In an easy-to-devour 300 pages, Dolin details the United States’ long relationship with these destructive and deadly storms, the changes in our study of them and the concerning outlook for future seasons. . . . Dolin’s comprehensive account of hurricanes starts with a few that have changed history, like the one in 1780 that hastened French involvement in the American Revolution. Readers then come to know how, over the next 200 years, hurricanes went from being regarded as freakish acts of God to inevitable meteorological events that needed to be studied. His account of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is particularly sobering.”—Kent German, CNET
"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 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
"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.
"Dolin masterfully recounts the history of momentous nineteenth- and twentieth-century scientific discoveries that led to a better understanding of the physical nature of hurricanes and our ability to monitor their paths. How and where the storms form, their general courses and finally their relationships to the laws of physics launches the reader into an intellectual adventure—and, at times, a very wild ride. . . . Dolin has written many first-rate maritime-focused books and has received several well-deserved literary awards for his efforts. A Furious Sky is among his best, an excellent resource for any layman who wonders about the weather and the future of our planet."—Louis Arthur Norton, The Northern Mariner
"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
“The history of Atlantic hurricanes is inextricably linked with the history of this country, from its colonial founding through independence and into modern times . . . [A Furious Sky] delves into the storms that shaped our society in ways we may not realize.” —David Kindy, Smithsonian
"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
"Dolin’s fascinating book traces our slow growth in understanding of hurricanes, from sorcery to science, alternating between accounts of hurricanes, whose buffeting literally changed history, with a narrative of how the scientists, politicians, and the press, all tried to cope with these massive storms. . . . a fascinating look at the history and present-day reality of these relentless ocean behemoths that will continue to threaten us all. A great read for hurricane season. Highly recommended."—Rick Spilman, The Old Salt Blog.
"Dolin, who has a doctorate in environmental sciences, has created a highly readable and densely fact-filled study. Most Americans remember at least one particular hurricane --- from childhood, direct experience or the memories of an earlier generation --- whether because of dreadful loss, unsettling fears or a near-miss. And through this literate survey, they can recall, re-examine and understand it in finer detail."—Barbara Bamberger Scott, Book Reporter
"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
"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 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
“A fascinating look at how these monstrous storms have affected history.” —American Heritage
"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 single hurricane can alter the paths of (or end) countless lives and overwrite entire cities, but only by looking at storms in aggregate can humans begin to grasp their magnitude. Writer Dolin employs both perspectives, detailing individuals' journeys through noteworthy U.S. (and non-U.S.) hurricanes, as well as how the tempests shaped history—plus how changing technology affected what scientists learned about each of them. From word of mouth to telegram, radar to hurricane-chasing plane, and computer modeling to orbiting satellite, every new development brought humans closer to understanding the source and structure of these storms—and predicting where they will go next.” —Sarah Lewin Frasier, Scientific American
“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
"A gripping new history of American hurricane disasters by Eric Jay Dolin, the reader is reintroduced to the unavoidable power of nature and its control over human affairs. Hurricanes have shaped American history in ways you might not expect — not just in their destruction but in man’s attempts to predict them.. . . In theory a book detailing a series of hurricane disasters might appear to be an exercise in gloom. And while each hurricane Dolin details does seem to be worse than the last, his tales are distinctly and vividly drawn, pulling from dozens of eyewitness reports — from doctors and housewives and police offices and even a few from famous folk (Ernest Hemingway, Katharine Hepburn)."—Greg Young, The Bowery Boys
“I’m absolutely fascinated by a book that digs into the history of American hurricanes, and Dolin traces the history of hurricanes beginning with colonization through Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, following not the news sensationalism of the storms, but rather the stories that you don’t get to hear as much, so the shipwrecks, the cities that were hit hard, as well as the individuals who were heroes and helpers throughout these traumas.” —Kelly Jensen, Book Riot
"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
"A Furious Sky has a fascinating cast.. . . Dolin writes vividly and has a knack for explaining the science of storms clearly, without jargon."—Ben Steelman, Star News (Wilmington, NC)
“The history of hurricanes is filled with wild stories, recounted in detail in Dolin’s book.” —Kate Yoder, Grist
"You can rely on this Marblehead author to dig deep, unearth reams of fascinating anecdotes, seek detailed historical records, and then tie it all together with plenty of his signature, edge-of-the-seat storytelling. Like so many of his earlier books on topics like whales, fur trade, privateering, lighthouses and more, Dolin has a special way of filling sentences with information while retaining your full attention. I brought his book with me everywhere."—Rae Padilla Francoeur, Book Notes (syndicated column)