In downtown Providence there is a plaque that identifies the high-water mark from the Hurricane of 1938. The Hurricane was a landmark event for the city in terms of the precautions put into place- the city is now protected by an immense hurricane barrier and flood precautions are taken very seriously. Every other storm is compared to the Great One, a once in every 100 years event.
This novel was a great way to more personally come to know the hurricane and its impact. It was fascinating to read about the very primitive weather forecasting that was in place at that time. No one knew a storm was headed their way until it was too late to leave. It is hard to imagine how shocking it must of been to see a tidal wave heading towards your home when the storm started as any other nor'easter. Once phones and electricity were down there was no way to communicate what might be heading up the coast towards others.
Burns also personalized the event by detailing specific families and their experiences during the hurricane. Even for families that survived there was a whole lot of recovery that had to happen. Towns, homes and landscapes were changed forever. A great read about a significant piece of history in Rhode Island.