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Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883 | [Simon Winchester]

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883

The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa (the name has since become a by-word for a cataclysmic disaster) was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event which has only very recently become properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round the world for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid.
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Publisher's Summary

The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa (the name has since become a by-word for a cataclysmic disaster) was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event which has only very recently become properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round the world for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogota and Washington went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away.

Most significantly of all, in view of today's new political climate, the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-western militancy by fundamentalist Muslims, one of the first eruptions of Islamic killings anywhere. Simon Winchester's long experience in world wandering, history, and geology give this fascinating and iconic event an entirely new life and perspective.

©2003 Simon Winchester; (P)2003 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Thrilling, comprehensive, literate, meticulously researched and scientifically accurate....It is one of the best books ever written about the history and significance of a natural disaster." (The New York Times Book Review(
"If you're looking for drama, you'll certainly find it here....Winchester manages a dry and ironic delivery, very much in keeping with his writing style. But the main point of interest when the dust has settled is the far-flung ramifications of this eruption upon world events. This is a winner." (AudioFile)
"All readers, science-prone or not, will be delighted by this experience-expanding book." (Booklist)

What Members Say

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    joyce j perrone Apollo, PA USA 04-08-05
    joyce j perrone Apollo, PA USA 04-08-05 Member Since 2004
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    "very slow!"

    When are authors going to learn that they are not also READERS! This book is painfully dry. With all the detail, I felt like I was back in a college class with one of the painfully monotonous professors. I was totally looking forward to this, and totally disappointed. Could NOT get thru it lest I fall asleep at the wheel of the car!

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nancy Panama City, FL, United States 08-26-07
    nancy Panama City, FL, United States 08-26-07 Member Since 2004
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    "Far too much detail, lacks emotion"

    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.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Penitas, TX USA 05-25-07
    Amazon Customer Penitas, TX USA 05-25-07 Member Since 2002

    Retama Thorn

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    "Interesting topic, terrible reading.."

    Why does someone who reads think that a scientific topic deserves a monotonous tone of voice? I simply could not listen long to this narrative without shutting my CD off. Too bad....

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
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