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The Hurricane of 1938

Hurricane of 1938


Florida has taken a severe pounding this year. That has coastal New Englanders talking about their big hurricane back in 1938. A new book examines the storm that Yankees will never forget.




What my mother remembers most about the hurricane of 1938 was that no one saw it coming. She recalls returning from school in high winds and thinking only that the chickens had gotten out of their coop. While she and her sisters scurried around retrieving the chickens, the winds built to a tremendous force. Suddenly, the great wooden barn door sheared off its hinges and flew away, just missing them in its deadly force.

HurricaneThis year as four hurricanes have battered Florida, doing billions of dollars in damage and killing over a thousand in Haiti, we in the North have remained unscathed. But we can identity. Tales of the 1938 hurricane have still not faded from popular talk. And now, some of those stories are collected in this new highly-readable book. From Commonwealth Editions. – JDR

From the Publisher:

Forget the blizzard of 1978. New England's storm of the century was the hurricane of 1938. Sometimes called the "Long Island Express" because it rolled through there on the first day of autumn, the hurricane tore northward straight through the heart of New England, wreaking death and destruction with virtually no warning.

The storm registered peak sustained winds of 121 miles per hour, and one gust registered 186 at the Blue Hills Observatory outside Boston. Seawater killed plant life 20 miles inland, and ocean salt sprayed windows in Montpelier, Vermont. An estimated 275 million trees were uprooted or damaged. About 20,000 miles of power and telephone lines were knocked down. Along the shore, 7,000 cottages and 2,000 other houses were destroyed, and the human death toll was estimated at 680. More had died in previous U.S. storms, but given the concentration of population and development on Long Island and in New England, the hurricane of 1938 was the costliest natural disaster in American history to that time.

In this gripping narrative by Aram Goudsouzian, you’ll read the sometimes tragic, sometimes heroic stories of the men, women, and children who experienced the storm. Series editor Robert J. Allison (A Short History of Boston) has provided a foreword.


The Hurricane of 1938
Aram Goudsouzian
Commonwealth Editions
96 pages, paperback
5.5" X 8.5"

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