Praise for The White Cascade||||||||||||||||||||
from The New York Times
"Mr. Krist does wonders...Adopting a restrained, documentary tone, he slowly builds a picture of massing natural forces and helpless humanity, brought closer and closer to catastrophe with each tick of the clock. The pacing is expertly judged, and the potentially confusing narrative threads, involving multiple actors in scattered locations, are tied together neatly...Dispassionately, Mr. Krist describes the frantic rescue efforts, the mounting fears of the passengers and the malevolent, unending storm. In a thrilling climactic chapter, he conjures forth the avalanche and its aftermath."
from The Los Angeles Times
"Gary Krist's smart page-turner, "The White Cascade," documents [the Wellington] disaster with verve, humanity and purpose. Krist's story goes beyond the recounting of a tragic event and becomes a study of individual heroism and failure, corporate avarice and the era's misguided faith that humans and their technology could tame Mother Nature...To research the book, Krist mined personal journals of the passengers, telegrams, letters, the inquest testimony, later court proceedings, newspapers and a veritable library of books on railroading. The results couldn't be more pleasing, as Krist crafts a tale of drama and compassion while slipping in a social history of railroads and their effect on the economic boom in the Northwest in the early years of the 20th century."
from The Washington Post
"In his first foray into nonfiction, novelist and short story writer Krist proves that you don't need an epoch-altering event -- a Katrina or a Dust Bowl -- to make an engrossing disaster narrative. In the hands of such a skilled and respectful writer, a week-long, late-winter snowstorm, stalled trains, and a cast of ordinary, unlucky people are more than enough to keep us turning pages...Krist's chapter on the aftermath of the avalanche--the blood-reddened snow, the ever-fainter cries for help, the heartbreak of a mother pinned on top of her slowly suffocating infant--is utterly gripping, all the more so for his restrained style. Equally riveting is the courtroom drama that ensues...The Wellington avalanche, like all natural disasters, was compounded by human frailty. Perhaps the signal contribution of The White Cascade is how deeply and delicately Krist probes the moral complexities of this fatal combination."
from USA Today
"Crisp and compelling...In his first excursion into nonfiction after three novels, Gary Krist pieces together court transcripts, corporate records, newspaper reports and personal accounts into a gripping man-vs-nature narrative of the deadliest avalanche in American history...Krist paces this ominous tale to fuel suspense."
from The New York Times Book Review
"Krist's account of an avalanche--which struck early on the morning of March 1 and killed 96 men, women and children--resonates because the particulars of such national tragedies have not, in fact, changed much...There were honest miscalculations, good intentions gone awry and corporate hubris aplenty, giving the story complexity and relevance."
from The Seattle Times
"Gary Krist has written what is surely the most complete and authoritative account...Krist provides a gripping hour-by-hour narrative...."
from Trains Magazine
"The White Cascade is a bone-chilling example of railroading against extreme elements...The facts by themselves are difficult to read. But author Krist breathes life into them through diaries and letters written by those on board, as well as through investigation documents and period newspapers...The end product is a stunning piece of literary journalism. The reader can't help but be drawn into the unfolding drama, and the realization that so many of the individuals who are cited also perished, is sobering...At $26, this book is likely to sell to a wide variety of readers. Better get your copy soon."
from The San Diego Union-Tribune
"Krist uncovered a wealth of documentation...resulting in rich, fleshed out characters...Train buffs will appreciate Krist's grasp of the golden age (and inherent danger) of steam railroading...and weather wonks will revel in Krist's explanation of the never-before-seen meteorological conditions..."
“What a wild-eyed, horrific, brilliantly written story Gary Krist tells in The White Cascade. You almost feel like you’re a Great Northern Railway passenger in 1910, coping with the blizzard-from-hell. Jack London would be proud of this riveting nonfiction accomplishment.”
"The book surges along with the inexorable pull of a suspense novel...The White Cascade offers something for readers of many genres, from history and railroad buffs to fans of disaster stories and tales of human nature. The trip through The White Cascade is a journey worth taking."
from the Associated Press
"A compelling account of heroics and hubris"