Sometimes, there is no better way to beat the summer heat than reading a book about winter and winter weather. Such was the scene as I opened Michael Tougias' book The Blizzard of '78 earlier this month during the hottest period on Vancouver Island this summer. Nothing like photographs of knee-deep snow to make one appreciate the warmth of summer.
The book makes for good summer reading as it is more a documentary picture book than a heavily detailed book of text. All lightness aside, The Blizzard of '78 is a good book for what it is: a pictorial documentary of a "surprise" winter storm that shut down the Boston area during early February 1978. Each of the eight picture chapters is prefaced by a short essay on the topic of the chapter's focus which gives a taste of the storm situation rather than an in depth account.
While the book will disappoint the true weather enthusiast wanting more details on the storm's history (only one paragraph on the weather situation), I found it a nice light treatment of the conditions faced by those buried under the deep snows. It reminded me of those magazine-style books published by local newspapers after a significant weather event but with a twenty-five year forward jump. I particularly enjoyed several photographs including one showing a still-life expressway where cars are semi-buried in the overbearing snow. This photo won the Pulitzer Prize for Kevin Cole of the Boston Herald.
The Blizzard of '78 is an enjoyable book if you accept it for what it is. However, if the detailed weather situation is what you are looking for, seek out Snowstorms Along the Northeastern Coast of the United States: 1955-1985 by Paul J. Kocin and Louis W. Uccellini.
Weather Doctor's Book Review: The Blizzard of '78 ©2003, Keith C. Heidorn, PhD. All Rights Reserved.
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