Scott, Phil Hemingway's Hurricane

ISBN 13: 9780071479103

Hemingway's Hurricane

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9780071479103: Hemingway's Hurricane

THE FINAL BLOW

They were the forgotten members of the Lost Generation, traumatized veterans of the Great War who grasped for one last chance at redemption under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Six hundred of them were shuffled off to the Florida Keys to build a highway to Key West. On Labor Day weekend 1935, the most intense hurricane ever to strike the U.S. took aim on their flimsy shacks, and the two men responsible for evacuating the veterans from harm’s way waited too long.

After the storm, Ernest Hemingway took his boat from his home in Key West to aid the veterans in the Upper Keys but he found few survivors on the wreckage. His public cries of outrage bound him forever to the storm. quotes

“Brilliantly and compellingly captures the events surrounding the 1935 storm, showing how human factors compounded the awful force of sky and sea.”—from the Foreword by John Rennie, Editor in Chief, Scientific American

Hemingway’s Hurricane describes a scenario tragically similar to the one surrounding Hurricane Katrina . . . little preparedness and no timely rescue for victims.”—The Sacramento Bee

“Phil Scott does a favor with this book, reminding [us] that deadly storms aren’t a new event.”—Chicago Tribune

“A timely topic and a compelling read.”—The Indianapolis Star

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From the Publisher:

A powerful late summer hurricane is tracked for several days before it makes landfall on a southern U.S. coastline. Inexplicably, government officials fail to set an evacuation plan in motion until it is too late. Those who are able escape, but the have-nots are left behind. Roaring ashore with 200 mph winds and a 22-foot storm surge, the storm overwhelms low-lying areas. Hundreds die.

You might think Iím describing Hurricane Katrina, but Iím not. Iím talking about the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 that struck the Florida Keys seventy years to the week before Katrina. More than 250 of the 400-plus victims of that earlier storm were World War I veterans who had been sent to the Keys by the Roosevelt administration to build a highway to Key West. A relief train stood by in Miami to evacuate the men in the event of a hurricaneís approach, but by the time government officials called for it, it was too late.

Outraged by the needless deaths, novelist and Key West resident Ernest Hemingway initiated a public outcry that led ultimately to Congressional hearings, which were widely condemned as a whitewash. Hemingway published a vehement protest essay in New Masses, a communist journal, and it was one factor landing him on the FBIís watch list years later.

The tragedy had one redeeming consequence: The publicís revulsion over the abandonment of so many World War I veterans helped to build support for the GI Bill, which Roosevelt signed into law in 1944. Can any redemption be wrested from Katrina?

About the Author:

Phil Scott's books include The Shoulders of Giants, The Pioneers of Flight, and Deadly Things. A writer and journalist specializing in aviation and popular science, he has contributed to Air & Space/Smithsonian, Scientific American, New Scientist, and other magazines. After coming upon a monument erected in the Florida Keys to honor the victims of the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, he knew this was a story he had to tell.

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