The most detailed description of a tornado and the violence it can bring comes from the author’s focus on the tragedy of one American town in 1953. John Edward Weems was an eyewitness reporter of a funnel that hit Waco, Texas, on May 11 of that year. In gripping narrative, he portrays the events of that day: a man clinging to a guard rail while a mailbox, plate glass, bricks, and assorted debris whizzed past his head; automobiles rolling end on end down the street; buildings falling like blocks knocked down by an angry child; a movie theater crumbling on the terrified patrons. When the storm had passed, 114 people were dead and hundreds injured; property damage ran in the tens of millions of dollars.
Research in news reports, government weather documents, and books flesh out this account, which Pulitzer-prize winner Annie Dillard called “wonderfully exciting. It is full of people, and the thousands of details that make up their lives—and deaths. [It is] a story of enormous power.” John Banta, writing in the Waco Tribune-Herald, described it as “a gripping story of human drama and tragedy.” Kirkus Reviews said, “. . . the events still chill face to face with a power that defies reason.”
Royalties from the sale of The Tornado will benefit the book fund of the Waco-McLennan County Public Library.
About the Author
Published by Texas A&M University Press