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

Garry Jenkins

Whether or not you believe in rainmaking, this short, readable history of one city’s experience will hold your attention. It briefly touches on many topics, including a history of rainmaking in the United States, the early growth of the city of San Diego, and the catastrophic flood of January 1916. San Diego’s city council hired Charles Hatfield to fill a new reservoir. The city got the rain it wanted, and more. Rising waters challenged the new dam and other dams above the city, and not all of them could meet that challenge. Sacramentans will relate to the fear-filled patrol of walls as the waters rise. This is a fascinating, well-paced story, and the author went into just the right amount of detail about people and events to orient the reader and keep the narrative moving.