Posted by Book Mavens on 7th December 2010
The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America’s Deadliest Avalanche
Author: Gary Krist
Publisher: Henry Holt, 2008
Summary: It never occurred to me to read this fascinating book until I met the author. In 1910, in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, two Great Northern Railway trains, one carrying mail and one carrying passengers, became trapped in a blizzard never before seen in these mountains. Parked precariously between a mountainside and a steep ravine and under constant threat of avalanches, the terrified passengers watched as 30 feet of snow fell burying the trains in drifts. Despite desperate attempts to clear the tracks of snow slides, no help arrived in time. After nearly a week, on March 1 at 1am, while most passengers and railroad employees slept, an avalanche swept nearly 100 of them to their deaths. Gary Krist, a historian, meticulously researched the tragedy through telegrams, journals, letters, and court records. He intersperses the personal stories with details of snow clearing capabilities in those days and railroad history. Even though, we know the outcome from the beginning, the personal stories and the monumental attempts at rescue held my interest throughout.
If you like this, try this: Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
Recommended by: Paula, Reference Librarian