Isaac's Storm is the story of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane -- the deadliest storm in the history of the United States. It is a compelling, gripping book that has a 5-star rating at Amazon.
Eric Sloane's Weather Book is a great introduction to weather. It is very well illustrated. While I strongly recommend it as a "weather 101" book, you do need to know that the chapter about tornadoes is completely out of date.
Weather is the the first book I ever read about weather (second grade). The authors have done an admirable job updating it every few years. This would be a great book to give to a young person with an interest in weather.
ORIGINAL POSTING BELOW:
Have someone who is interested in weather on your Christmas list or someone who enjoys a great history book? I'd like to immodestly suggest you consider Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather. It has a 5-star rating at Amazon.
A couple of reader reviews (at the Amazon site):
Smith skillfully makes this and other controversies seem not just important, but exciting. Meteorology, in his telling, has the same bare-knuckle energy we see in politics or sports. These battles, many of which Smith himself fought in, reveal how much of our modern, weather-safe lifestyle is contingent on personalities, and could have gone another way.
While weather forecasters often appear starchy and bland, Smith makes the weather into an urgent concern, and a remarkable victory. This story turns the weather into a quest, and meteorologists into the most unlikely heroes in recent literature.
and, another (written by a book author),
I'm an admitted severe weather geek, and so I read rabidly in this genre. Quality tends to be all over the place, but so far I've only read one book I couldn't finish because it was so poorly written (and it's hard to write so badly that it overshadows the cool factor of this subject). Still, it's something I'm always aware of, and so I had put Warnings on my holiday gift list instead of just going out and buying it.
WHAT A MISTAKE! I got this book as an Easter gift and immediately began devouring it. I was instantly sorry I hadn't bought it sooner.
I'm a very busy person with little time to read, but I MADE time as I got into Warnings, and buzzed through it in four days of brief reading periods. Not only is this book about a really cool subject -- our modern-day severe storm warning system and how it almost didn't happen -- but it's written very engagingly with nary a slow spot in the entire book. As an author myself, I know how truly difficult it is to keep up such a pace without losing steam, but Mike Smith does a bang-up job all the way through.
The first chapter of Warnings can be read for no charge here. I recommend Warnings, which is a very upbeat book after the initial chapters, for anyone 12 or over.
While I am very proud of When the Sirens Were Silent, it is about a tragic tornado where the warning system did not perform well. I recommend it for weather buffs 18 years of age and over.
Here is a review from The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang:
The book, a quick read, is a stirring call to action to improve tornado warning communication in this country.
Smith provides a gripping countdown of the events leading up to the tornado, critiquing the series of decisions and actions from forecasters and emergency management and describing their consequences. His commentary is insightful and written plainly enough for the layperson to understand.An important feature of the book is three lift-out pages in the back with the latest versions of the tornado safety rules for home, school, and your workplace. They will be valuable when tornado season rolls around again.
Both books are available on Kindle and Nook. If you are giving one of those devices as a gift, you could pre-load Warnings or Sirens.