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Good Night Irene: Stories and Photos about the Tropical Storm that Devastated Vermont, the Catskills and the Berkshires [Paperback]

Craig Brandon , Nicole Garman , Michael Ryan

Price: CDN$ 28.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Perfect Storm" for Tropical Storm Irene July 26 2012
By Ben Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
"Good Night Irene" is "The Perfect Storm" for the mountain towns torn apart by Tropical Storm Irene, a gripping "you are there" account of the freak weather event in August 2011 that sent walls of roiling water, rock, and debris roaring down insignificant creek beds and narrow river valleys. In a matter of hours, the floods surged to as much as 50 feet, ripping out roads and bridges, destroying houses, and nearly wiping many communities off the map. Among the losses were iconic covered bridges that had braved the elements for centuries, smashed to fragments by the brutal waters. The only reason there wasn't a greater loss of life was the heroic efforts of small-town fire and police chiefs, who literally pounded on doors to sound the alarm.

Anyone who lives near or has any connection to the region devastated by Irene will treasure this book as a record of what they and their communities endured. Weather buffs, meteorologists, and readers with an appreciation for the forces of nature -- and a concern for the effects of climate change -- will want "Good Night Irene" within easy reach.

Rain was the villain. After Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm it slipped out of the media spotlight. That's when the real havoc began, as the massive, moisture-laden storm slowly cycled northward, dumping an unprecedented volume of water on the steep valleys and the isolated mountain towns of New England and New York's Catskills. The three authors, Craig Brandon, Nicole Garman, and Michael Ryan, all journalists, went into the communities, talked to the people who had their lives upended, gathered photos, walked through ripped-apart buildings, peered into chasms carved through highways, and wrote up a gripping real-time account of the hidden storm and it's devastating effects. "Good Night Irene" would have benefited from stronger editing in spots and some tweaks to the page design. However, the story is powerfully told, with a strong narrative drive. And nothing takes away from the immediacy of the reporting and the drama of the 500-year storm. The opening chapter alone, by Brandon, is a concise classic of nature writing, as it describes the quiet genesis of Irene over African highlands, it's long hurricane swing through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic Coast, then the relentless unfolding of a tragedy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for New Englanders Sept. 25 2012
By Ernest Hebert - Published on Amazon.com
I live in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, a Connecticut River town. I remember Monday, August 29, 2011, setting out to drive the eight miles to the supermarket in Walpole, NH. It had rained the day before, quite a bit, but nothing special. It seemed to me a good late summer rain.

I'd heard that Tropical Storm Irene had passed over New York with little harm done. Myself and most of the people of Northern New England hunkered down for a rain storm, nothing more. What I didn't know and what so many people didn't know was that it rained a lot harder for a lot longer in the hills and mountains of Massachusetts, Vermont, and the Catskills of New York. It was the hardest rain in a hundred plus years. Result: a deluge of almost Biblical proportions.

When I reached the the intersection where Route 123 passes over the bridge into Vermont, I got my first look at the Connecticut River. The sight stopped my breath. I'd been passing through this area all my life and I had never seen the river so high. A police officer was halting traffic at the bridge. The water level of the river was only a couple of feet from the bottom of the bridge, more than thirty feet higher than normal.

I turned the radio on. Seems as if Vermont had been hit hard by this huge rainstorm. Roads and bridges were washed out, isolating hill towns. Houses were swept away. All this registered with me, but it didn't really hit home until a year later when I had a student from Schoharie, New York, a valley town in the Catskill mountains, wrote a piece about what happened to her hometown. Ninety-four percent of the properties in Schoharie were damaged, many of them wiped out.

Schoharie is one of eight towns featured in GOOD NIGHT IRENE.

My education, my conscious raising, if you will, has continued with GOOD NIGHT IRENE. The book is a must-read for anyone who was in the vicinity of Vermont, the Catskills Mountains and the Berkshires in Massachusetts when Tropical Storm Irene created the great flood of August 28, 2011.

It's also a great read for the casual reader who wants to know how floods develop in mountainous areas in the United State. We're used to seeing and reading about floods that inundate wide flat areas along ocean coasts and in the broad valleys of great rivers. But Irene was, in effect, a series of mountain flash floods that roared into narrow valleys where the residents had little or no warning. It was as if nature unleashed an angry dragon for half a day. The many photos in the book gives you a better understanding of just how vulnerable all of us are to the vagaries and power of nature.

The style of GOOD NIGHT IRENE is journalistic, depending on photography and the stories told by the people who witnessed and endured the storm. And, as such, there will never be another book about this storm quite like it. It's a historical document of great import. These towns and their peoples who were cut off, both literally and figuratively, from their sister communities. People were concerned not only with their own losses, but with those of their neighbors and the town itself. How local people tied in their own happiness and identity with their towns is one of the themes that emerges in GOOD NIGHT IRENE. It's a great work of journalism; it's what journalism should be.

One thing that stuck out for me in these stories is just how important community spirit and neighborliness is to sustain individuals when there is nowhere else to turn. For those of us who live in small towns, a book like this helps us to understand and appreciate our fellow townspeople, and thereby gives us a better understanding of ourselves.
5.0 out of 5 stars Storm Oct. 10 2013
By Joan Bujanowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Whew!!! Tough book to read because it was real. We drove through many of the towns and saw allot.
To hear it from the people that went thought it was unreal.
The book arrived in MINT condition and will buy from again THANK YOU!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Let the reader know what really went on after Irene Sept. 4 2013
By Alice Leeds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great overview of how Irene impacted a number of small communities. Lots of fascinating details included. Well researched and presented.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Done Review of Hurricane Irene Feb. 16 2013
By Vicki T. Cammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was anxious to read this book as I grew up in Windham, NY one of the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Irene. This is a well written book of first-hand accounts of the impact of this storm.

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