In The Mercy of the Sky by Holly Bailey, on May 20, 2013, Moore, Oklahoma became the first ever urban area to be struck by two EF5 tornadoes since records of tornadoes have been kept. The nation watched in horror as the massive tornado roared through the suburban landscape. The tornado struck during the middle of the afternoon when thousands of kids were still in school and unfortunately two schools took a direct hit. In the aftermath, twenty -five people were dead, including 7 children at the Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Before moving to the Midwest, I honestly really didn’t pay attention to the weather. I have learned that weather in this part of the country is extremely unpredictable. Having seen 3 tornadoes since moving up here, I have a healthy respect for nature but the storms still hold a fascination for me. I can’t even imagine going through a tornado much less a violent tornado like the one that struck Moore in 2013
In The Mercy of the Sky, author Holly Bailey does a fantastic job of narrating the events of May 20th from different perspectives. She also spends several chapters explaining the history of storms in Oklahoma and the so-called ” weather wars” between the news stations (ever wonder why a helicopter is always filming tornadoes in that state? Bailey explains why). She also explains how Moore continues to rise from the rubble over and over again.
The entire book is a pulse pounding narrative that sucks you in from the first sentence. You know what is going to happen based on the subject matter but you are unable to stop reading. The chapters where the schools take a direct hit had me crying at the bravery of the teachers who put their students lives before their own safety (many were severely injured protecting children with their own body).
One of the things Bailey spends a good deal of time on is how the weather men felt during the broadcast. All 3 weather men who were broadcasting the event live struggled to remain calm, knowing people were going to die. It was something I had never thought of because you always see the calm weather person on tv and sometimes they even seem excited at the bad weather.
This was an excellent read for me. I actually lost sleep staying up late because I couldn’t put it down. Anyone interested in weather or about Moore should definitely check this book out.
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About the Book:
Title: The Mercy of the Sky
Author: Holly Bailey
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Borrowed from the Library
An acclaimed reporter returns to her hometown after the worst twister on record and emerges with a suspenseful story of human courage in the face of natural disaster.
Holly Bailey grew up dreaming of becoming a storm chaser. Instead, she became Newsweek’s youngest ever White House correspondent, traveling to war zones with Presidents Bush and Obama. But nothing prepared her for what she would soon find back home. On May 20, 2013, the worst tornado on record landed a direct hit on the small town of Moore, destroying two schools while the children cowered inside. Bailey went back both as a journalist and a hometown girl, speaking to the teachers who put their lives at risk to save their students, the weathermen more revered than rock stars and more tormented than they let on, and many shell-shocked residents. In The Mercy of the SkyBailey does for the Oklahoma flatlands what Sebastian Junger did for Gloucester, Massachusetts, inThe Perfect Storm, telling a dramatic, page-turning story about a town that must survive the elements—or die