Sunday, April 10, 2016

Order your free e-book copy of Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud

It is looking more and more like the new book Carthage Press Managing Editor John Hacker and I have been working on, tentatively titled 5:41: Five Years Later, will not be published until after the five-year anniversary, but for those who have yet to read my last book, Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud, I am offering a one-week special.

No, I am not giving away the entire book for free, but those who send me their e-mail addresses will receive a free 100-page preview of the 532-page book. And you can feel free to forward it to anyone who might be interested in reading it. You can e-mail me at

The preview tells the story of the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, through the eyes of Joplin city leaders, including City Manager Mark Rohr, Mayor Mike Woolston, R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff, and Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer and details the steps those people and other leaders took in the days after the tornado, with all of the information thoroughly researched.

Details on the creation of CART (Citizens Advisory Recovery Team) and how Texas con artist David Wallace of Wallace Bajjali was invited into Joplin are revealed.

The preview also includes some information that did not make it into the final edition of the book, with most of that centering on former Missouri Southern State University President Bruce Speck.

The preview includes the following chapters:

1. May 22, 2011- The tornado experiences, in their own words, of Mark Rohr, C. J. Huff, and Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer

2. Disaster Response- How Mark Rohr and C. J. Huff reacted to the tornado and their first dealings with the media

3. The Tornado Mayor- Mike Woolston's story, David Wallace learns about the tornado, Mark Rohr and Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Director Rob O'Brian begin thinking of the city's future beyond tornado recovery

4. Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud-  Angie Besendorfer's story, including her turbulent time as superintendent of the Reeds Spring School District, her arrival in Joplin, and her reaction at being passed over in favor of C. J. Huff

5. We Will Have School- C. J. Huff makes his famous declaration, first in front of his administrative team and a silent board of education, then to a national audience in an event that was purportedly for the "school family. Huff takes steps to control all media coverage, I return to tornado-stricken East Middle School and go into areas of Joplin that have been devastated by the disaster and return to my home to find a threatening message from Huff.

6. A Presidential Visit- Barack Obama and the Westboro Baptist Church arrive in Joplin for a memorial service one week after the tornado. Mark Rohr sets the city's sights on the future.

7. Bright Futures-  The teaching experiences that led C. J. Huff to create Bright Futures, what Angie Besendorfer really thought of Huff's pet project, the truth about Joplin's improved graduation rates

8. Finding Temporary Schools- Even as Angie Besendorfer is doing the work to make sure school opens on time, C. J. Huff is taking another approach, something he has never mentioned in any of his speeches. MODOT offers use of its building in Joplin, but not for the purpose of housing administration

9. Enter Wallace-Bajjali- The beginnings of what led to CART and the Joplin Progress Committee,  David Wallace arrives in Joplin. Mark Rohr and the Jane Cage-led CART stack the deck in Wallace's favor as a master developer is hired, the background of Wallace-Bajjali that they conveniently overlooked.

10. The $794 Million Plan- David Wallace reveals his plan for the City of Joplin, David Humphreys and his family step in to help the city and the school district, the tornado story of Bruce Speck.

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