Book Review: Superstorm Sandy: A Diary in the Dark by William Westhoven


It’s been three years since Superstorm Sandy

Superstorm Sandy: A Diary in the Dark by William Westhoven

WRITTEN AS A FUND-RAISING VEHICLE, THE AUTHOR PLEDGES TO DONATE ALL PAID ROYALTIES FROM THIS BOOK TO THE NONPROFIT HURRICANE SANDY NEW JERSEY RELIEF FUND. Written and published within a month of the worst storm to ever hit the New Jersey-New York area, “Superstorm Sandy: A Diary in the Dark” is a first-person account of one New Jersey’s resident’s 12 days without power or heat in his North Jersey home. The author, William Westhoven, an award-winning New Jersey journalist and author, mixes personal drama and observations with fact-based reporting and a liberal dose of “you have to laugh or you’ll cry” humor. His quick work resulted in the first book to document the arrival of Superstorm Sandy and the immediate recovery period that followed.

Amazon Customer Review

20890-5-stars-rating-bmp   Fellow Survivor by Rachel1019
I was so happy to read his interpretation of events before, during, and after Sandy. There is something to be said for being ‘okay’ in the ‘new normal’ after Sandy. For some of us who were just left in the dark, whose six 100 year-old oaks chose to spare their owner’s home and the neighbors’ can relate their survival in the dark, dark days following Sandy. While my home survived; I almost didn’t survive my house guests or relatives with power complaining of no milk, bread, or gasoline. Read, laugh, relate, recover; it’s going to be a process, but William put it in to perspective for so many of us. The royalties are going to a good cause. Not from a state that survived a natural disaster? Read, learn, and prepare.

About the Author

WILLIAM WESTHOVEN A former mobile disc jockey, voiceover artist and Crazy Eddie store manager, William Westhoven was a full-time journalist from 1989 to 2011, when he fell victim to newspaper industry-wide layoffs. Since then, he has branched out to fiction, writing and publishing two complete novels. “One-Hit Willie,” a historical novel that covers 50 years of music in America, was released in December of 2011. “The Puddingstone Well,” a contemporary mystery-fantasy, was released on Oct. 26, three days before Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore. Westhoven began writing “Superstorm Sandy: A Diary in the Dark” three days after getting power back to his home on November 9, 2012. He spent the 12 days before that in his home without power or heat. Written and released within a month of Sandy’s departure, “Superstorm Sandy: A Diary in the Dark” is the first published book to document the devastating storm and its initial recovery period. The author pledges to donate all paid royalties from the sale of this book to the nonprofit Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. During his newspaper career, Westhoven earned several national and state awards for writing, editing and page design. His theater column, Morris Stage, ran for nine years in the Daily Record and, as a performing-arts critic, he earned seven first-place awards for Critical Writing from the New Jersey Press Association. Westhoven’s first book, “Eric Clapton: Career of a Rock Legend,” was published in 1996. In between his book projects, he continues to work as a freelance journalist, with recent work appearing in several newspapers and Patch sites, the Huffington Post and Guitar World Online. For more information, visit

Book Review: Storm Surge by Adam Sobel

Storm Surge:
Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate,
and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future

by Adam Sobel

A renowned scientist takes us through the devastating and unprecedented events of Hurricane Sandy, using it to explain our planet’s changing climate, and what we need to do to protect ourselves and our cities for the future.

Was Hurricane Sandy a freak event—or a harbinger of things to come?  Was climate change responsible?  What connects the spiraling clouds our satellites saw from space, the brackish water that rose up over the city’s seawalls, and the slow simmer of greenhouse gases? Why weren’t we better prepared?

In this fascinating and accessible work of popular science, atmospheric scientist and Columbia University professor Adam Sobel addresses these questions, combining scientific explanation with first-hand experience of the event itself.

He explains the remarkable atmospheric conditions that gave birth to Sandy and determined its path. He gives us insight into the sophisticated science that led to the forecasts of the storm before it hit, as well as an understanding of why our meteorological vocabulary failed our leaders in warning us about this unprecedented storm—part hurricane, part winter-type nor’easter, fully deserving of the title “Superstorm.”

Storm Surge brings together the melting glaciers, the shifting jet streams, and the warming oceans to make clear how our changing climate will make New York and other cities more vulnerable than ever to huge storms—and how we need to think differently about these long-term risks if we hope to mitigate the damage. Engaging, informative, and timely, Sobel’s book provokes us to rethink the future of our climate and how we can better prepare for the storms to come.

Editorial Reviews

“Sobel is able to navigate the complex science behind Sandy’s twists and turns with accessibility, precision and authority… he describes his midnight walk from his Morningside Heights apartment down to the swollen Hudson River on the night of Sandy’s landfall in a way that brings chills.” (The Washington Post)

“An engaged and engaging examination of ‘what current science allows us to say (or does not) about Sandy’s relation to human-induced climate change.'” (Kirkus)

“Adam Sobel provides a fascinating overview of hurricanes, weather tracking, and climate change … The narrative of Sandy’s events, mixed with a commentary on the science behind it, provides an interesting bird’s eye view in this unique book.” (S. Krishna’s Books)

“The author makes complex subject matter intelligible and intriguing.” (Library Journal)

“It’s a great read covering the meteorology of the event, the preparation, the response and the implications for the future.” (

“In this comprehensive volume, [Sobel] looks at the science behind Sandy (and similar weather systems), examining the circumstances leading to it… and factors that made it a superstorm….Topics like these make for interesting, if technical, reading, and Sobel manages to strike an effective balance.” (Publishers Weekly)

Storm Surge is a masterful account of the science and policy implications of Sandy. …Sobel excels at answering our most burning question: What was that thing?…[and] is able to navigate the complex science behind Sandy’s twists and turns with accessibility, precision and authority.” (Washington Post)

Buy Links
Hardcover ~ Amazon
E-Book ~ HarperCollins

Do You Recognize These People? ~ Found Wedding Photos

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Black-and-white images from the past were found by victims ofSuperstorm Sandy on Staten Island, in the chaotic days after the destructive storm nearly two years ago.

Now, the finders want to return the photographs to their rightful owners.

One of several wedding photos found in the debris of Superstorm Sandy in New Dorp, Staten Island. Dominick and Patricia Guinta are seeking the photos' rightful owners. (Credit: CBS 2)

As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the photos show a wedding dating back decades. A flower girl and a ring bearer who appear in the photos would now be in their 50s, and Dominick and Patricia Guinta hope they see or read this story and help identify the photos’ rightful owners.

“They’re somebody’s memories, and I’m sure somebody would want them back,” Patricia Guinta said.

The Guintas’ home has been rebuilt since the storm in the fall of 2012. But right after Sandy, it was devastated just like many homes in New Dorp.

Dominick Guinta barely escaped as the house filled with 11 feet of water.

“I had to swim out with my dog, and when I came back two days later, there was still, like, 4 feet of water in my basement,” he said.

Friends helping the couple clean up found the album with the wedding photos in the driveway. They had the photos restored and returned the album to the Guintas, thinking it was theirs.

But it was not.

One of several wedding photos found in the debris of Superstorm Sandy in New Dorp, Staten Island. Dominick and Patricia Guinta are seeking the photos' rightful owners. (Credit: CBS 2)

“I started looking at them and I’m like – that’s not my family, I’m like — and that’s not my husbands’ either,” Patricia Guinta said.

The pictures showed a beautiful bride arriving at a church, the first kiss with her groom, and the cutting of a cake at a banquet hall.

One of several wedding photos found in the debris of Superstorm Sandy in New Dorp, Staten Island. Dominick and Patricia Guinta are seeking the photos' rightful owners. (Credit: CBS 2)

Looking at the reception photos, the fashions and hairstyles seem to date the wedding to the 1960s.

The Guintas said so many people helped them after the storm that they would like to return the favor by returning the photos.

“I really want these to get back. Now it’s like a mission now,” Dominick Guinta said.

One of several wedding photos found in the debris of Superstorm Sandy in New Dorp, Staten Island. Dominick and Patricia Guinta are seeking the photos' rightful owners. (Credit: CBS 2)

CBS 2’s Aiello did some Internet sleuthing, and it appears that the wedding was held at St. Francis Xavier Church in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

If you can help solve the mystery, please leave a comment on the CBS New York Facebook page.

One of several wedding photos found in the debris of Superstorm Sandy in New Dorp, Staten Island. Dominick and Patricia Guinta are seeking the photos' rightful owners. (Credit: CBS 2)

Surviving Sandy ~ Aiding Recovery and Rebuilding

Hurricane Sandy Pictures Book Created by Pascack Valley Learning Center to Aid Recovery and Rebuilding Efforts

Local students contributed to the making of this beautiful and historic tribute to Superstorm Sandy and those who endured her.

Pascack Valley Learning Center students, faculty, and parents have announced the completion of a 300-page book “Surviving Sandy.” The hardcover book details the Superstorm, outlines the challenges faced by survivors, and highlights the hope that volunteers brought in the months following the storm. Professional journalists and graphic artists provided countless hours to help oversee the writing, editing, and design of the book.

Pascack Valley’s student body comprises young people from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who were directly affected by the storm. In November 2012, the 115 students were moved to help others. An upcoming school bake sale fundraiser was unselfishly transformed to raise dollars for the victims of Sandy. Students also held clothing, food and toy drives which were given to the United Way and People to People for distribution and presented $2,800 to the Red Cross.

But the students wanted to do more. The school body recognized an opportunity to raise further funds and decided to go into the publishing business. Working with professionals, the Pascack Valley Learning Center students, parents and faculty collected stories, photos, and interviewed top professionals in their respective fields. From New York City’s Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano to Seaside Heights, New Jersey’s hero police chief Tommy Boyd – their first hand stories of duty, care and heroism are what makes this unlike any other publication.

“The fundraising efforts and the idea for this book came from the hearts of the students,” says Principal Joanne Fratello. “It proves that young people can make a difference.”

Many of the charities who are dedicated to the recovery efforts will benefit from the proceeds of the book. These include: Tunnels to the Towers Foundation, Red Cross, New York Says Thank You Foundation, Pet Safe, Catholic Charities and The First Response Team of America. Their stories of duty, care, hope and rebuilding are also outlined in the book.

How to Help
Individuals and corporations wishing to purchase a Surviving Sandy book are encouraged to go to Foundations and schools are also able to purchase in bulk at a discounted price to raise dollars for their own charitable organizations.

Pascack Valley Learning Center in Airmont, New York is a school of Sterling Education. Sterling is a grades 3 – 12 learning institution teaching the skills of “Learning to Learn.” An integral part of Sterling’s educational program is teaching young people about community outreach and volunteerism. The book was made possible by the charitable fundraising arm:



  • LARGE FORMAT (11.69” X 9.33”)