Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Quote

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

Writing is lonely business, an exercise in which one’s companions are ideas and facts. The writer finds solace in the words themselves, words mined from one’s mind to populate the page, orphans really, wide-eyed words that hope to find a home in the reader’s heart...

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1. Genesis, 1 p.m.: Annapolis, Missouri, to Gorham, Illinois

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pp. 1-10

The official National Weather Service forecast for Wednesday, March 18, 1925, issued for the southern reaches of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana called for “rains and strong shifting winds,” a prediction that was a tragedy of understatement. The tempest that formed in the Missouri Ozarks...

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2. Murphysboro, Illinois

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pp. 11-41

Hugging the course of the Big Muddy River, the storm advanced toward Murphysboro, a busy city of thirteen thousand, a rail and manufacturing center at the time, and the Jackson County seat, which it is today. The tornado crossed the river on the city’s southwest outskirts at Buster...

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3. DeSoto, Illinois

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pp. 42-60

Just seven minutes after most of Murphysboro was leveled, the Tri- State Tornado hit DeSoto at 2:48 p.m. No town in the path would proportionally suffer a higher fatality rate than this tiny village in which sixty-nine people died. Thirty-three of them were children buried in the...

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4. West Frankfort, Illinois

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pp. 61-72

At 2:53 p.m., five miles northeast of DeSoto, the storm reached Bush, a mining camp of flimsy, cookie-cutter, unpainted frame homes lining the dirt streets in rows. The community boasted a company store, a dance hall, a skating rink, dentists and doctors, a soda fountain/sweet shop, a...

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5. Parrish and Crossville, Illinois; Griffin, Owensville, and Princeton, Indiana; Dissipation

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pp. 73-69

Just before 3:15 p.m., the tornado tracked northeast of West Frankfort into lightly populated agricultural country in rural Franklin County, a period in the tornado’s history representing a quarter of the total storm’s path. The tiny farming community with the ironic name of Parrish was leveled...

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6. Aftermath

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pp. 90-114

It has been said that the measure of a person may be drawn by how well he or she performs in adversity. People in the three-state region, particularly Egypt because it experienced 80 percent of the total casualties, had an enormous problem on their hands. Medical care, drugs, hospital beds, and...

Appendix: Rosters of the Dead by Town

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pp. 115-124

Notes

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pp. 125-130

Bibliography

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pp. 131-134

Index

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pp. 135-142

About the Author, Series page, Back cover

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