Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America


Having grown up in Upstate NY and now living in Western NY, snow is no big deal. Winters here sometimes last six months. Unless you are a skier, you get sick of snow soon after Christmas, but you learn to cope with it.P1040252

Only a handful of times can I remember experiencing a true blizzard, the kind that closes shopping malls, grocery stores, work, and schools. In this riveting book, Blizzard! Jim Murphy tells of the infamous blizzard of 1888, where not only towns came to a standstill, but also more than six hundred people died. Some people died in their own backyards. This storm was a monster, and he describes it with vivid details and historic accuracy. To give you and idea of how bad the storm was, check out this part where a boy sets off for school anticipating the storm to be a daring adventure.

At first, Sam liked the experience of being outside in a wild storm, fighting his way through belt-high snow and fending off the wind. His aunt and uncle had instilled in him a strong sense of self-reliance and duty. He had been told to go to the store and then to school, so he was going to do both, no matter what the consequences. Several blocks later, Sam came face-to-face with the violence of the blizzard. As he was crossing an intersection, the wind was on him like a wild animal. It picked him up and tossed him into a deep snowdrift. Sam struggled and clawed to get free of the snow, but he was in over his head. The more he moved, the more snow fell on top of him. He shrieked for help, but no one heard him above the wind’s mighty roar. His boyish romp had turned into a frightening trap in just seconds. 

P1110928This was one of the most incredible disasters in our nations history. I read with fascination and literally gripped the book as if the storm was in my living room. Thankfully with our modern day snow cleanup crews and weather satellites, we can prepare for snowstorms and stay safe. If you can’t get enough of the snow this is  a good book to read while safely tucked inside your warm houses with a toasty fire and a cup of hot tea.