Former Radford English instructor to visit, discuss latest book


Author and former Radford University instructor of English Jim Minick, M.A. ’91, is returning to campus this month to talk about his latest book, “Without Warning: The Tornado of Udall, Kansas.”

Minick’s talk is free and open to the public and is scheduled for 5 p.m., Sept. 21, in McConnell Library. The author will present a slideshow and answer audience questions.

“Without Warning” tells the true story of the May 25, 1955, F5 tornado that killed 82 people and destroyed much of the small Kansas town. In only three minutes, the twister destroyed most of Udall’s buildings including its new high school, knocked over a water tower, lifted a pickup truck and parked it in a nearby tree. The tornado struck at 10:35 p.m. Weather forecasters in the area had predicted thunderstorms but not a tornado.

“Without Warning” provides perspectives from those who survived the tornado and tells a larger story of community and endurance and how we might find our way through the challenges of the future,” said Minick, who taught in the Department of English from 1991 to 2013.

The book has received many positive reviews, including one from David L. Bristow, author of “Nebraska History Moments.”

“This is vivid, compelling narrative history with the detail, tension and pacing of fiction, meaning it’s hard to put down,” Bristow said. “Though I’ve never been to Udall, Kansas, I feel as if I visited in 1955 and met the residents. Their stories are ones we’re all going to need more than ever. If catastrophe strikes us like it did Udall, the big question is going to be, how well will we survive as a community?”

Since the book’s release, Minick has been busy promoting it with various readings, media appearances and events. “It’s found a wide and terrific reception,” the author said.

Minick recently promoted “Without Warning” on the Kansas public radio program “Kansas Presents,” and in July, he was a guest on The Weather Channel’s popular “Weather Geeks” podcast.

In addition to “Without Warning,” Minick is the author of “Fire is Your Water,” The Blueberry Years,” “Burning Heaven,” Her Secret Song,” “All There is to Keep” and “Finding a Clear Path.”

Minick’s talk is sponsored by the Radford University Department of English and McConnell Library.

Sep 18, 2023
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761