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Publisher's Summary

For months in early 1980, scientists, journalists, and ordinary people listened anxiously to rumblings in the long quiescent volcano Mount St. Helens. Still, when a massive explosion took the top off the mountain, no one was prepared. Fifty-seven people died, including newlywed logger John Killian (for years afterward, his father searched for him in the ash), scientist Dave Johnston, and celebrated local curmudgeon Harry Truman. The lives of many others were forever changed.

Steve Olson interweaves history, science, and vivid personal stories of the volcano's victims and survivors to portray the disaster as a multifaceted turning point. Powerful economic, political, and historical forces influenced who died when the volcano erupted, and their deaths marked the end of an era in the Pacific Northwest. The eruption of Mount St. Helens transformed volcanic science, the study of environmental resilience, and our perceptions of how to survive on an increasingly dangerous planet.

©2016 Steve Olson. Recorded by arrangement with W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Both [narrator Jonathan] Yen and the author truly shine in bringing to life the remarkable stories of those who witnessed the eruption at close range, some of whom survived to tell the tale." ( AudioFile)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Eruption by Steve Olson, Narrated by Jonathan Yen

The story of Eruption kept my interest even though the beginning chapter were off the story plot seemingly. The background chapters proved to be most interesting. The technical stuff was well explained, and the-deaths and recoveries were handled with respect. The end drew a well thought out conclusion, with a lot for the reader to think about in our own life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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engaging story told quite well

This story has always intrigued me, and this book captures so many sides too it you feel as if you really understand the people, places, and the time of this event.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Nope

Not really the story of the eruption. That is almost an aside to the main theme which was environmentalists are good capitalists are bad. I literally skipped chapters when I got bored of hearing about Weyerhaeuser and their logging practices. The telling part was that it didn’t make any difference to understanding the story. The actual eruption was interesting but in tone remained merely a side story to the environmental themes. Disappointed!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Book about St Helens kinda ignores the volcano

Book about the social and cultural context behind the events of the St Helens eruption. Interesting in its own way, but didn't satisfy my curiosity about what we knew/now know about the history and future of the cascade volcanoes.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty Interesting

I thought this story was pretty interesting, and I feel sorry for all those who perished in the eruption.

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Scary and enlightening

I learned a lot from this book and have a new respect for the natural disasters in that part of the world.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Amazing moment in time, no connection for listener

Sometimes hard to listen to. The reader did not make me look forward to the next chapter, as so many other readers can.
There was no sense of the excitement that must have prevailed in the lead up to the eruption...seemed like just another weekend day. Let's go hiking.

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    3 out of 5 stars

senseless deaths on Mt. st. Helen's

I liked it, because I love history, had to much technical detail got lost in it!!!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful