Imagine standing at the center of a Roman coliseum that is 20 miles across, with walls that soar 10 miles into the sky, towering walls with cascades of ice crystals falling along its brilliantly white surface. That's what it's like to stand in the eye of a hurricane. In this book, Kerry Emanuel, one of the world's leading authorities on hurricanes, gives us an engaging account of these awe-inspiring meteorological events, revealing how hurricanes and typhoons have literally altered human history, thwarting military incursions and changing the course of explorations. Offering an account of the physics of the tropical atmosphere, the author explains how such benign climates give rise to the most powerful storms in the world and tells what modern science has learned about them. Interwoven with this scientific account are descriptions of some of the most important hurricanes in history and relevant works of art and literature. For instance, he describes the 17th-century hurricane that likely inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest and that led to the British colonization of Bermuda. We also read about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, by far the worst natural calamity in U.S. history, with a death toll between 8,000 and 12,000 that exceeded the San Francisco earthquake, the Johnstown Flood, and the Okeechobee Hurricane combined. Boasting more than one hundred color illustrations, from ultra-modern Doppler imagery to classic paintings by Winslow Homer, Divine Wind captures the profound effects that hurricanes have had on humanity.
© 2005 Oxford University Press