February 25, 2010 "Island in a Storm" Author to Discuss His Book That "Warns of a Warmer World"

Great Hurricane of 1856 Devastated Isle Derniere

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Oceanographer Abby Sallenger, author of “Island in a Storm: A Rising Sea, A Vanishing Coast and a Nineteenth Century Disaster That Warns of a Warmer World” (Public Affairs, 2009) will discuss and sign his work on Tuesday, March 16, at noon in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

This event, co-sponsored with the Geography and Map Division, is part of the Books & Beyond series of author programs sponsored by the Center for the Book.

In the mid-19th century, the Isle Derniere was emerging as an exclusive summer resort on the Gulf of Mexico. About 100 miles from New Orleans, it attracted the most prominent members of antebellum Louisiana society. Without warning, on Aug. 10, 1856, a ferocious hurricane swept across the island, killing half of its 400 inhabitants. Sallenger links between environmental “deaths” across the Mississippi delta and the human deaths that occurred when the storm swept ashore. The result is a fascinating portrait of a coast in perpetual motion and a rising sea that made the Isle Derniere particularly vulnerable to a great hurricane.

According to Sallenger, “In the end this is the story of an island dying. And it is a story that is not over. Between the 1890s and 1988, the Isle Derniere retreated landward about two-thirds of a mile while losing three-quarters of its surface area. At its heart lies the image of a warmer world – and of what our children and grandchildren may endure from future hurricanes coming ashore on rapidly rising seas.”

Sallenger’s book is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The new Books & Beyond Book Club is available at www.facebook.com/booksandbeyond/. The site offers discussions of books by authors who have appeared, or will appear, in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have seen and heard.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 “to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries.” With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center also oversees the new Read.gov website, with its exclusive “Exquisite Corpse Adventure” serialized story.


PR 10-039
ISSN 0731-3527