Death Rides the Sky


The Story of the 1925 Tri-State Tornado

20th Century U.S. History/Natural Disasters
350 pages, Spring 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61876-001-2

On an ordinary spring day in 1925, folks in the Midwest were going about business usual: attending school, preparing the fields, mining coal, and tending their stores. Little did they know that between 1 and 4:30 p.m. on March 18, their lives would be changed forever in an event that defined the weather in the central U.S. From the hills of the southeastern Ozarks to the plains of the Hoosier heartland and across the developing communities of southern Illinois, the Tri-State Tornado destroyed cities, devoured whole farms, and set the record for the most deaths, injuries, and monetary damage, a record which remains standing to this day.

This is the story as told directly by nearly four dozen survivors and eyewitnesses, in the most comprehensive account of the Tri-State Tornado ever to be compiled. Many of the survivors were only children when that killer storm swept down from the sky and carved a path through the lives of thousands of individuals linked by this singular event.

More than simply an account of the events of March 18, 1925, this is the story of the resolve and the spirit of the American people, who, with little in the way of organized relief, emerged from this great disaster and pulled together for themselves, their families, their neighbors and complete strangers—many of whom were left with nothing, not even the clothes on their backs—and who left an example of endurance in the face of hardship, and an inspiration for all in the decades to come.