I have this strange attraction to books about natural disasters I think this is for a couple of reasons First, I m always in awe of Mother Nature s power and second, I m always interested in the ways people respond Almost always there are courageous people who help others unselfishly, and usually there are others who are pretty self centered, but most people fall somewhere in between Krist does a fantastic job of setting the scene for the disaster by describing some of the people involved as well as giving background on the railroad and how they managed to build a line through the Cascades in the first place As one might expect, there was plenty of blame to go around, but nobody could have predicted the severity of the storms that moved through leading the the numerous avalanches that stranded the trains in A good initial effort in the authors transformation from novelist to non fiction writer I had only peripherally heard of this disaster and really enjoyed Krist s writing style and his almost hour by hour detail of what was going on both in in the train and with the workers of the Great Northern Railway back in 1910 during this catastrophic avalanche I personally felt that the supervisor got a raw deal in some of the post avalanche inquest and trials They portray a man who was working almost 24 hours for days on end, doing heroic efforts to try and free the passengers that were stuck in the Wellington Station, when there was really nobody else who could make decisions or who had a better read on the situation Basically we have a horrid storm that puts a freakish amount of snow on the mountain, then you combine that with both rising temperatures and thunderstorms that mak So this is what good non fiction should be A gripping story told with vim and vigor Krist keeps the editorializing til the end and simply presents the story of two trains caught in a snow storm in the Cascade mountains Really good book about a forgotten event.
This was an incredible historical record for this most dire tragedy of avalanche in the state of Washington It reminded me of a minute to minute but in this case day to day record for another horrific catastrophe in Chicago when I was young on the Our Lady of the Angels fire that I read years ago Two completely different kinds of horror but told in the same way and objective eyes style Witness eyes and follow up research of their tales for the afterwards as well And they are similar in another way, as well In that being patient because the authority on the scene and off was trusted to know better and so obeying and waiting as told heralded a demise in both events, in great majority This also gives the history of the line, the CEO, the man in charge for these rig My reading patterns have become somewhat eclectic I don t even remember where I heard about this book, and nonfiction is not my typical genre, but what a read Bringing to life the Wellington train tragedy of 1910 which I didn t even know had occurred Krist paints with broad strokes to show the political climate of the time progressive as well as the financial boom of the Railroad Era, in particular the rise of the Great Northern Line under James J Hill from MN Lesser known than the era s other Robber Barons, Hill forged a railroad with sheer grit and now embarrassingly cheap labor through the formidable Rockies and evendaunting Cascades to reach Seattle Jim O Neill, the superintendent of this particular tough stretch of mountain passage through the Cascades began work on the railroad at age 13 What fetched boys who went to work on the railroad we
A well written account of an avalanche in the Cascade Mountains in 1910 that destroyed two railway trains Those interested in natural disasters or railroads will find this the most interesting, and while the narrative does get dry in spots, it is worth reading Krist draws on the narratives left by the survivors and the rescuers, along with a great deal of information about the expansion of railroads and how railroads were run and organized Three and half stars rounded up to four stars overal Recommended.
For the longer review please go here Ì The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche Ì Interesting story of an incident that took place in the early 1900 s At least 100 people died in an accident that may have been preventable I would have liked to have found outpersonal information about the people that were on the train but I m sure that information was not available Even so, to have feltlike I knew the characters would have made itenjoyable.
How puny is man in the face of angered nature And yet how indomitably and hopefully persistent He is swept from the earth like the wheat before the sickle or the chaff before the wind His toilsome labors are made nothing of the greatest achievements are crumbled to dust Yet, driven by that impulse within him, he buries his dead, clears up the debris, and returns to his task, even while he can yet feel the wings of Death hovering overe him Seattle Tribune All wiped out he cried before collapsing in exhaustion I am truly stuck between 3 and 4 stars The execution of the novel was textbook The beginning gave perfect insight to the culture of the railway men, personal insights to those that would soon become our main characters, and