A hurricane will never surprise us again. But that’s just what happened to the people of Long Island and New England on September 21, 1938.

In 1938, not a single living person had ever experienced a hurricane in New England. The previous one had been so long before that people in the Northeast believed that hurricanes only happened down south. Florida, Texas, maybe North Carolina. Not New Hampshire. Then, without warning,  the most destructive weather event to ever hit the Northeast blasted its way through all the way to Quebec.cropped-Barnet1.jpg

To call it “New England’s Katrina” might be to understate its power. On Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, the “Long island Express” killed hundreds of people and destroyed roads, bridges, dams, and buildings that stood in its path.

Not yet spent, the hurricane then raced inland, maintaining 100 mile per hour winds into Vermont and New Hampshire and uprooted more than a half million acres of forest. Previous books have told the story of the coastal destruction. They’ve ignored what happened when the storm sped inland. It knocked down forests in patches large and small across a region totaling 15 million acres. City streets and rural roads were criss-crossed with a tangle of trunks and limbs, all of which had to be removed with axes and crosscut saws.

In Thirty-Eight, I chronicle how the hurricane of ’38 transformed New England, bringing about social and ecological changes that can still be observed these many decades later.

Thirty-Eight is a gripping story of a singularly destructive hurricane. Ecologists and meteorologists consider New England hurricanes of this magnitude normal but rare. Only three have hit New England in the five centuries since Columbus. When will the next one arrive? Nobody knows. But just in case it’s this year, Thirty-Eight also provides important and insightful information on how best to prepare for the inevitable next great storm.

Purchase Thirty-Eight now           What They’re Saying
Events and Presentations