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Publisher's Summary

By the world-renowned seismologist, a riveting history of natural disasters, their impact on our culture, and new ways of thinking about the ones to come

Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes - they stem from the same forces that give our planet life. Earthquakes give us natural springs; volcanoes produce fertile soil. It is only when these forces exceed our ability to withstand them that they become disasters. Together they have shaped our cities and their architecture; elevated leaders and toppled governments; influenced the way we think, feel, fight, unite, and pray. The history of natural disasters is a history of ourselves.

In The Big Ones, leading seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones offers a bracing look at some of the world's greatest natural disasters, whose reverberations we continue to feel today. At Pompeii, Jones explores how a volcanic eruption in the first century AD challenged prevailing views of religion. She examines the California floods of 1862 and the limits of human memory. And she probes more recent events - such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the American hurricanes of 2017 - to illustrate the potential for globalization to humanize and heal.

With population in hazardous regions growing and temperatures around the world rising, the impacts of natural disasters are greater than ever before. The Big Ones is more than just a work of history or science; it is a call to action. Natural hazards are inevitable; human catastrophes are not. With this energizing and exhaustively researched book, Dr. Jones offers a look at our past, readying us to face down the Big Ones in our future.

©2018 Lucy Jones (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Big Ones is a timely and essential remembrance of how natural disasters have changed the world in dramatic ways. Lucy Jones is a first-rate storyteller and fine researcher." (Douglas Brinkley, New York Times best-selling author of Rightful Heritage and The Great Deluge)

“Nobody does a better job of explaining the science of disasters and the psychology of humans than Lucy Jones. This book is priceless - both as a history and a prophecy.” (Amanda Ripley , New York Times best-selling author of The Smartest Kids in the World and The Unthinkable)

"[A] bracing examination... This work could prove beneficial to all who live in an area prone to natural disasters, which is just about everyone." (Publishers Weekly)   

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Very interesting and informative

This was a great mixture of science, history and how societies deal with disasters. The author/narrator covers the science behind such events as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanos, providing some very interesting facts, explains the societal issues at play and recounts the events that transpired around many well known catastrophic events such as Pompeii and New Orleans during Katrina, as well as some events not so well known among the general public. I was a little put off at first because she appears to be very judgmental regarding Christians, but as I read further I realized that she was simply laying a groundwork to explain why the belief structures at that time could have affected the circumstances leading up to some of these events and flavored the reactions to those events. Overall, I was fascinated.

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great!!!

I'm a natural disaster enthusiast. living in California I like to think I am prepared for the "big one" Dr. Jones does a fantastic job exploring our historical natural disasters and provides a fresh insight on how to prepare for it. she teaches you to consider the social and cultural imlications and consequences which I have rarely considered. I really appreciate this book. thank you Dr. Jones!

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Very Informative

Dr Jones weaves us through history and recent events with scientific information for the lay person. I couldn’t put this book down.

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This book will save lives.

This book is the most concise and vivid description of the impact of the worst disasters in history and our human response, both heroic and tragic. The way forward in the last chapter is a success story and must read for all leaders in business and government.

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Finally a worthy disaster book!!

Having experience the 94 northridge earthquake lucy Jones details exactly what happens during and after a disaster strikes, i highly recommend this book to people that may live in an area prone to earthquakes and disasters, as this book gives very useful information. I've read other books about earthquakes but The Big Ones is by far the best! If Lucy Jones scares you with her dire analysis of disasters good! Wish i had read this book back in 1994 and acquired knowledge about disaster preparedness.