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Capturing the 'path of destruction'

Local author documenting tornado's wrath in new book

Jean Carruthers, of Holland, recently published The 39-Mile Path of Destruction, a book that includes photographs and a summary of one of the most damaging tornadoes in Massachusetts history, a deadly EF3 twister that ravaged nine communities in central and western Massachusetts on June 1. (click for larger version)
October 11, 2011
HOLLAND — The profound devastation caused by the largest of the June 1 tornadoes — a deadly EF3 twister that tore a 39-mile scar from Westfield to Charlton — is difficult for residents to describe to people who didn't witness the shattered neighborhoods it left behind. Although the countless YouTube videos provide telling images, they simply don't effectively portray the extent of the damage.

Jean Carruthers made it her mission this summer to show the world exactly how destructive the tornado was, publishing a book titled The 39-Mile Path of Destruction. The book includes dozens of photos taken by Carruthers in the tornado-ravaged communities of Brimfield, Monson, Southbridge, Springfield, and Sturbridge, many of which she took during the first few days after the tornado. A smashed clock and steeple in Monson, demolished campers in Brimfield, and broken airplanes in Southbridge are just a few of the stirring photographs featured in the book, which also includes a detailed summary of the disaster. Royalties from the book will benefit the communities that were devastated by the tornado.

"After I had taken several photos in different towns that were affected, I decided that maybe I could compile them in a book and break them up by town," said Carruthers, who lived in Sturbridge for 18 years before moving to Holland, where she has spent the last three years.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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