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The author, an aquarium director in coastal North Carolina, does a remarkable job (especially for a non-meteorologist) of documenting the impact of every hurricane which affected North Carolina since 1875. Each storm -- including some hurricanes that made landfall elsewhere but passed across the state -- gets its own narrative which variews in length according to the storm's impact. Fran (1996), the costliest and fifth deadliest hurricane in state history, gets big coverage with 32 pages. The chronological stories of each storm are spread across several chapters covering most of the book, which are in turn sandwiched between a general introduction to hurricanes and a chapter on Nor'easters. The final few chapters -- on Nor'easters (cold core winter cyclones), hurricane effects on fauna, potential for future danger, and hurricane safety -- appear roughly cobbled together as if there were no logical order for them. Still, the collection of stories of animals' life and death in North Carolina hurricanes is quite interesting, and unique among books dealing with the impact of weather phenomena.
For a historical volume, the writing style is engaging, vividly descriptive and occasionally humorous. Nowhere else in weather related literature have I read about local speech patterns ("Hoigh toide on the sound soide") together with graphic descriptions of mayhem's aftermath, like "...battered caskets and bones lay scattered, unearthed by the hurricane's menacing storm surge."
Some of the stories of human survival, heroism and death in hurricanes are more bizarre and ghastly than fiction could conjure. These tales, together with an accurate factual record of the storms and a rich collection of black and white photos, show the tremendous effort and attention to detail by Barnes in his historical research.
The book does suffer aesthetically from its drab printing, with only cover color, by UNC Press. Such obvious parsimony, unfortunately, exemplifies the policies of many university-affiliated presses. But since substance trumps form; I deem this to be a fine non-technical addition to the literature of any hurricane enthusiast.
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What this book doesn't tell you on the cover is that it advocates a vegetarian diet for children. Which isn't bad in and of itself, but if you're looking for a more general childhood nutrition book you may want to include another book on your list.
There is a section of good vegetarian recipes in the back, and a plan to help your family eliminate meat and dairy products from its diet.
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