During his career, author Eric Jay Dolin
’88 MEM has written about whales, the fur trade, and pirates. In his latest book, “A Furious Sky,
” he tackles the history of America’s hurricanes.
From the nameless storms that threatened Columbus’s voyages in the 15th Century to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Dolin says, hurricanes have helped shape U.S. history. In an interview, he discusses the legacy of some of the nation’s most significant storms, how communities have responded to these natural crises, and the prospect that climate change will make future storms more frequent and more devastating.
“Year after year I would read and watch news about hurricanes and their manifold, often tragic, impacts on the natural and human-made environment,” he said. “Writing about the history of hurricanes allowed me to more fully explore and understand these mighty tempests.”
How have hurricanes helped to shape American history?
Eric Jay Dolin:
From a local or regional perspective, every hurricane has a devastating and long-lasting impact on the communities that are most directly affected. Thus, the histories of hundreds, if not thousands, of cities and towns have been molded by hurricanes. Some of those impacts leave scars that last for years, if not decades.