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SLCL Foundation Presents “Storm Kings” Author Lee Sandlin

Press Release

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 12:00p.m.
The St. Louis County Library Foundation is pleased to present historian Lee Sandlin author of “Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers” on Tuesday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. at Library Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
The program is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase at the event from Left Bank Books.
The event is co-sponsored by Maryville University and will be an onstage interview with KTRS’s McGraw Milhaven.
While tornadoes have occasionally been spotted elsewhere, only the central plains of North America have the perfect conditions for their creation. For the settlers the sight of a funnel cloud was an unearthly event. They called it “the Storm King” and their descriptions bordered on the supernatural: it glowed green or red, it whistled or moaned or sang.
In “Storm Kings,” Lee Sandlin retraces America’s fascination and unique relationship to tornadoes. From Ben Franklin’s early experiments, to “the great storm debates” of the 19th century, to heartland life in the early 20th century, Sandlin shows how tornado chasing helped foster the birth of meteorology, recreating with vivid descriptions some of the most devastating storms in America’s history.
Drawing on memoirs, letters, and eyewitness testimonies, Sandlin brings to life the forgotten characters and scientists that changed a nation, detailing the almost invisible history of The National Weather Service, the settling of the Midwest, and how successive generations came to understand and finally coexist with the spiraling menace that could erase lives and whole towns in an instant.
Lee Sandlin is an award-winning journalist and essayist. His previous books include the acclaimed “Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild.”
Sandlin will also discuss his memoir “The Distancers,” a geneology history of his ancestors from Edwardsville, IL.
Program sites are accessible. Upon two weeks notice, accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities. Contact St. Louis County Library by phone 314-994-3300 or visit