The Raging Sea : The Powerful Account of the Worst Tsunami in U.S. History

The Raging Sea : The Powerful Account of the Worst Tsunami in U.S. HistoryThe Raging Sea : The Powerful Account of the Worst Tsunami in U.S. History . Citadel sped up production on this account of the most devastating tidal wave to hit the continental U.S. in response to the recent tsunami; originally scheduled to be published in April, the book should be in stores this month. It’s a gripping narrative: lawyer and amateur tsunami scholar Powers describes how, in 1964, four successive waves spawned by an Alaskan earthquake struck Crescent City, Calif., a lumber and fishing town near the Oregon border, flooding the low-lying areas and killing 11 people (four children also drowned on the beach to the north). Broadcast warnings came too late to be useful, but earlier, less destructive waves raised an alarm that prompted many people to head for high ground before the later, more damaging onslaughts. Powers interviewed survivors whose stories read like good action fiction, such as septuagenarian Mabel Miller’s memories of surviving the night trapped in her ruined house. Less fortunate was Air Force Sgt. Don McClure, who saved a friend at the cost of his own life, or Gary Clawson, who saw his fiancĂ©e and half his family drown when raging waters capsized a boat in which they were trying to escape blazing oil tanks. Powers points out the town never quite recovered from the destruction wrought by the tsunami, although this was in part due to the decline of the fishing and logging industries. This is a very readable narrative, and interest in tsunamis is no doubt at an all-time high. But compared to 2004’s tsunami, 1964’s tidal wave is very small.

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