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The Wizard of Sun City: The Strange True Story of Charles Hatfield, the Rainmaker Who Drowned a City's Dreams.

THE WIZARD OF SUN CITY The Stragne True Story of Charles Hatfield, the Rainmaker Who Drowned a City's Dreams

GARRY JENKINS

As the U.S. border pushed westward in the early 1900s, farmers in the arid lands being opened sought relief from frequent droughts by enlisting rainmakers. On the whole, the people offering their services were con men. However, Charles Hatfield seemed to have real success. He constructed tall towers, atop which he burned gallons of 27 secret chemicals, seeding whatever clouds existed and apparently stimulating some rain to fall. Whether he was truly successful at making rain or just lucky, he became a hero from Detroit to southern California. However, in January 1916, Hatfield's rainmaking appeared to have worked a little too well, as San Diego experienced the worst flood in its history. Rightly or wrongly, Hatfield was blamed. This engaging narrative reveals the little-known story of a man who appeared to control the weather in a way meteorologists still don't understand. The book also describes the aftermath of a flood that took 20 lives and caused vast property damage. Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005, 272 pages, b&w images, hardcover, $24.00.
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Title Annotation:Books: A selection of new and notable books of scientific interest; book by Garry Jenkins
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 6, 2005
Words:193
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