The White Cascade by Gary Krist
The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche

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Synopsis

The never-before-told story of one of the worst rail disasters in U.S. history in which two trains full of people, trapped high in the Cascade Mountains, are hit by a devastating avalanche
In February 1910, a monstrous blizzard centered on Washington State hit the Northwest, breaking records. The world stopped--but nowhere was the danger more terrifying than near a tiny town called Wellington, perched high in the Cascade Mountains, where a desperate situation evolved minute by minute: two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found themselves marooned without escape, their railcars gradually being buried in the rising drifts. For days, an army of the Great Northern Railroad's most dedicated men--led by the line's legendarily courageous superintendent, James O'Neill--worked round-the-clock to rescue the trains. But the storm was unrelenting, and to the passenger's great anxiety, the railcars--their only shelter--were parked precariously on the edge of a steep ravine. As the days passed, food and coal supplies dwindled. Panic and rage set in as snow accumulated deeper and deeper on the cliffs overhanging the trains. Finally, just when escape seemed possible, the unthinkable occurred: the earth shifted and a colossal avalanche tumbled from the high pinnacles, sweeping the trains and their sleeping passengers over the steep slope and down the mountainside.
Centered on the astonishing spectacle of our nation's deadliest avalanche, The White Cascade is the masterfully told story of a supremely dramatic and never-before-documented American tragedy. An adventure saga filled with colorful and engaging history, this is epic narrative storytelling at its finest.
 

About Gary Krist

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Gary Krist has written for the New York Times, Esquire, Salon, the Washington Post Book World, and other publications. He is the author of the acclaimed The White Cascade as well as several works of fiction.
 
Published January 22, 2008 by Henry Holt and Co.. 356 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The White Cascade

Kirkus Reviews

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The avalanche that killed 96 Great Northern Railway passengers and crew on March 1, 1910, was the result of a freak late-winter storm combined with an even rarer winter thunderstorm that triggered the slide.

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The New York Times

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Set in 1910 on elegant Pullmans and drab boxcars held hostage by snow in the Cascade mountains, 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, ch...

Mar 04 2007 | Read Full Review of The White Cascade: The Great ...

The New York Times

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On Feb. 21, 1910, snow began falling heavily in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State.

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Publishers Weekly

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In a briskly paced and vividly written account, novelist Krist (Bad Chemistry ) relates the tale of two trains, trapped on the tracks in Washington's Cascade Mountains in February 1910, that were subsequently swept away by the deadliest avalanche in American history.

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BC Books

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Gary Krist couples his first attempt at non-fiction with great storytelling to recount the gripping incident known as the Wellington Disaster in The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche.

Apr 01 2007 | Read Full Review of The White Cascade: The Great ...

Entertainment Weekly

Originally posted Feb 09, 2007 Published in issue #921 Feb 16, 2007 Order article reprints

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USA Today

Dozens of others were injured.In his first excursion into non-fiction after three novels (Bad Chemistry, Chaos Theory and Extravagance), Gary Krist pieces together court transcripts, corporate records, newspaper reports and personal accounts into a gripping man-vs.-nature narrative of the deadlie...

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News Review.

In this fast-moving narrative, Gary Krist covers a mostly forgotten event, in which—following an intense series of storms—two trains were trapped on the side of a mountain in Washington in 1910.

Nov 08 2007 | Read Full Review of The White Cascade: The Great ...

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