Recommended by Joyce, a reference librarian in the Adult Department of the Canton Public Library.
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This is the story of a weather event so horrific that its savage blasts are still remembered in Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas. Over 500 people, many children, died, caught by this unexpected change in weather.
In 1819, the 238-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, the unthinkable happened: in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, the Essex was rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale. The next three months tested just how far humans could go in their battle against the sea as, one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease and fear.
The Black Death was the 14th century's equivalent of a nuclear war. It wiped out one-third of Europe's population, taking millions of lives. And yet, most of what we know about it is wrong. In telling the stories of several high-born families and their death or survival, Cantor illustrates the tremendous social changes that came in the wake of death.
The 19th-century eruption of a Javanese volcano still has global repercussions in both historical and scientific contexts. Winchester not only describes the physical events, but the impact decisions made by officials before and after the eruption to provide or to not provide assistance to the survivors, European and natives.
The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. If you have read or seen John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, this is the story behind the mass migration from the High Plains to greener pastures