Burns starts out in her book on the 1938 hurricane with a curiosity and a
fascination about the subject. She admits that she never knew such storms came
up the East Coast, and into New England. She thought that they were a phenomena
that only Florida and the Southeast dealt with. However, when Hurricane Bob
paid a visit to New England in August, 1991, her views changed. Those views
continued to change later that year in October when the Perfect Storm, which
had a contribution from Hurricane Grace.
Burns would only bring
up interesting facts about the 1938 Hurricane to people she would bump into
from time to
time, and noticed how they didn't seem affected,
or were apathetic. Something very important to note because a recent study
of New Yorkers stated that 78% of them
believed that hurricanes do not happen here. A resident of Nantucket, the author talks about the backdrop in which
the hurricane occurred in a similar way that Scotti does in her book, but
she goes a bit further by saying that perhaps people don't remember it as much,
or know about it because it came at a time when the Munich Agreement was
Hitler took the Sudatenland in Czechoslovakia, and Neville Chamberlain declared
we would have, "Peace in our time."
While both Scotti
and Burns go to great lengths to describe the battle for survival and hardships
that many of the people and their families had to endure as a result of the
storm, Burns talks a lot more about the situation that occurs in Providence,
particularly at some of the local business and newspapers. Scott on the other
hand talks more about the school bus tragedy at Jamestown in more detail,
especially the controversial aftermath.
Burns also discusses
the destruction that occurred on Martha's Vineyard. Scotti does mention that
there was little
damage in Boston, and that Cape Cod was relatively unscathed by the storm,
but she doesn't mention anything about Martha's Vineyard. There are some
people and families that both authors interviewed and write about in their
books, but there are others that one interviewed and talked about that
the other did not.
In other words,
while the books are quite similar in their detail and extensive research
and knowledge, there are some differences. Another example is how Scotti
discusses a great deal about Katherine Hepburn. Not only does she talk about
what Katherine Hepburn did the day of the storm, but also what was going
on in her life at the time such as her romance with Howard Hughes and the
state of her career including her audition for the role of Scarlett O'Hara
in Gone With The Wind, and her role in the Philadelphia Story, which with
help from Hughes, would help get her career back on track, and on its way
to the legendary status it has today. Burns does talk about Hepburn's recollections
of that day, and briefly about her life at that time, but not to the extent
that Scotti does.
differences, both books are equally good reads. Burns is also very detailed
and descriptive of the death and destruction that occurred on September 21,
1938. Like Scotti, she talks about how a way of life was changed forever
by the storm. Not only were lives changes, but the geography of the coastline
was altered permanently. Places such as Napatree were wiped out completely.
Burns also details how the federal government got involved with many of the
Public Works Projects that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt devised in
to the Great Depression that had plagued the country for almost a decade.
This was vital in the rapid recovery efforts in the affected area.
I strongly recommend
all visitors to this site to purchase
both books. As with Scotti's book, I was very drawn in by Burns vivid
tale of the storm. Both books are very descriptive, detailed, and well written
accounts on a storm that
many peoples radar over the years. Perhaps it was the fact that the world
was headed to war, and the infamous Munich Agreement stole much of the headlines
and people's attention.
Or maybe it was
the fact that media coverage that we see today with such storms as Hurricane
Katrina, which recently devastated
the Gulf Coast including New Orleans, is much more intense than it was
back then. Regardless, these books paint a vivid picture in our minds of
this storm did to such a point that we can actually compare it to the devastation
we are currently seeing in the aftermath of Katrina.