In the early morning hours of April 18, 1906, San Francisco and a string of other towns were overcome by an earthquake registering 8.25 on the Richter scale, resulting from a rupture in the San Andreas fault. Lasting little more than a minute, the earthquake wrecked 490 blocks, toppled a total of 25,000 buildings, broke open gas mains, cut off electric power lines, and effectively destroyed the gold rush capital that had stood there for a half century.
Winchester brings his inimitable storytelling abilities, as well as his unique understanding of geology, to this extraordinary event, exploring not only what happened in northern California in 1906 but what we have learned since about the geological underpinnings that caused the earthquake in the first place. A Crack in the Edge of the World is the definitive account of the San Francisco earthquake and a fascinating exploration of a legendary event that changed the way we look at the planet on which we live.
©2005 Simon Winchester; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers
"In this brawny page-turner, best-selling writer Winchester (Krakatoa, The Professor and the Madman) has crafted a magnificent testament to the power of planet Earth and the efforts of humankind to understand her." (Publishers Weekly)
Very interesting book on the history of Frisco, as it relates to the 1906 earthquake. Being a California resident I was surprised how much I didn't know about this event and what happened before, during, and after. A little deep scientifically in the middle of the book for a non-scientist, but informative and pertinent to the topic so I learned much about geology I didn't know. Good read as always from Winchester, and well researched as always.
I appreciated not only the depth of science, but also the history and humanity surrounding the major historic world tremors.
Winchester's tendency to focus on the human element while avoiding getting bogged down in triviality is one of his most admirable traits as a writer.
The tale of Enrico Caruso's variety of experiences on the day of the Earthquake is memorably funny
Enrico Caruso stands out as the funniest of the bunch, though thankfully, there isn't a lot of "character" voicing.
Some Cities Live Dangerously!
A nice western companion to Winchester's Krakatoa, though I still slightly prefer that book.
If you are looking for a book about the San Francisco earthquake, read chapter 10. If you are interested in earthquakes, eclectic information about quakes, and a story that jumps like a conversation, this is it. It is an interesting book with information on seismographs, beliefs about the causes of earthquakes by various groups (before modern understanding of quakes), and how at least one religion got its start because of the San Francisco quake.
I only made it thru half of this book and I'm surprised I held out this long. You would have to be a tremendous geology fan to enjoy this in my opinion.
This is a stellar book which takes a historical event and allows one to see it through the lense of its affect in the USA. For a non-Bay Area the author has an increible insight to the local area and its impact on the world.
Mr. Winchester is not a geologist or even a scientist. Rather he is a journalist whose writing wanders around the 1906 earthquake, declares the evils of capitalism (including an anti-Walmart rant) and delineates a plan for terrorists to blow up the Alaska pipe line. This is geology??
Author has a tendency to go off on tangents many of which barely stay on point. Listening at times is very laborious as the author elaborates on whatever extraneous topic seems to pop into his head. When finished I’m sure you’ll be able to pick up an easy three credits at any university that offers a geology course as the depth of detail covering the evolution of volcanoes as well as tectonic plates is the equal of any text book you’ll find on the subject. There is no connection to any main characters that typically draw the reader into a book so they can truly experience the emotional magnitude of the event as it effects the character.
I've listened to several dozen books from Audible.com -- and dozens of others. This is a dreadful book -- boring, slow, and read poorly. It is the only book I've ever stopped listening to. Don't waste your money, or credit, on this one.
This author is so self-possesed as to drive one crazy. The first hour talks about his drive across America and a camping trip. Not science. Not worth listening to.
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