Document / Publication
University of Iowa Press
This book is a gripping account of the worst tornado disaster in American history. Claiming 689 lives during a three-hour rampage across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana on March 18, 1925, the storm had one of the longest uninterrupted paths (219 miles) and one of the widest (up to one mile) of any recorded tornado. Its continuous energy was so extreme that it completely obliterated several small towns in its path. Although the fatality count was nearly that of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, with the exception of meteorologists and residents of the affected area, few had ever heard of this catastrophe until this book's initial release in 1992. The book reconstructs the tragedy, using vivid eyewitness accounts of fourteen survivors who lived along the tornado's path from the Missouri Ozarks to southwestern Indiana. The clarity with which they recall that day in their lives over sixty years earlier will give readers the unsettling feeling that the tornado struck days, not decades, ago.