April 27, 2011, marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. Read more...
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April 27, 2011, marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. It was the deadliest day of the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, which saw 348 people killed, entire neighborhoods erased, and $11 billion in damage. The biggest of the tornadoes left scars across the land so wide they could be seen from space. But from the terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes, neighbors and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth.
With powerful emotion and gripping detail, Cross weaves together the heart-wrenching stories of several characters including three college students, a celebrity weatherman, and a team of hard-hit rescuers to create a nail-biting chronicle in the Tornado Alley of America. No, it s not Oklahoma or Kansas; it s Alabama, where there are more tornado fatalities than anywhere in the US, where the trees and hills obscure the storms until they re bearing down upon you. For some, it s a story of survival, and for others it s the story of their last hours.
Cross s immersive reporting and dramatic storytelling sets you right in the middle of the very worst hit areas of Alabama, where thousands of ordinary people witnessed the sky falling around them. Yet from the disaster comes a redemptive message that s just as real: In times of trouble, the things that tear our world apart also reveal what holds us together."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-01-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Expanding on an article first published in Southern Living magazine, Alabama-based journalist Cross’s gripping chronicle of the events of April 27, 2011—the deadliest day of the largest tornado outbreak in history—is divided into three parts: “The Storm,” “The Aftermath” and “The Recovery.” The first section introduces readers to various people on the scene when the storm hit, including veteran TV meteorologist James Spann, storm chasers Brian Peters and Tim Coleman, and the civilians—both survivors and soon-to-be victims—caught in nature’s path of destruction. All told, 252 Alabama residents lost their lives in one of the 62 tornadoes that terrorized the state that day. The gruesome second section re-creates the panic and despair that set in when the wind died and the dust settled, revealing wiped-out communities and mangled corpses while inspiring random acts of kindness among strangers. Victims and their families struggle to seek closure and peace in the third and final section. Cross conducted more than 100 hours of interviews, and her detail-oriented reporting anchors a novelist’s flair for drama. Horrifying depictions of the monster storms and gut-wrenching scenes of loss make other accounts of Tuscaloosa’s tragic tornados (including Lars Anderson’s The Storm and The Tide) tame by comparison. Agent: Jim Hornfischer, Hornfischer Literary Management. (Mar.)