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The Great Hurricane: 1938

B+

Hurricanes weren’t officially named until 1953, but if the sinister 1938 hurricane that slammed into the North Atlantic coast had received an appropriate handle, it might’ve been Jason or Freddy. In a time before satellite weather tracking, it moved at 60 miles per hour with gusts three times as fast and ripped an indiscriminately murderous path through Long Island and New England, swallowing whole houses and killing 700. Cherie Burns crafts a tantalizing monster story in The Great Hurricane: 1938 (”it seemed alive to him and as if it were looking for prey”): From the collective nightmares of the likes of actress Katharine Hepburn, a Rhode Island town that lost a school bus of children, and the egghead who tries to warn an unsuspecting public before it’s too late, she forms a patchwork of images of the ocean’s deadly surge that may only be conceivable after 2004’s tsunami footage.

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