From the bestselling author of "The Professor and the Madman" and "The Map That Changed the World" comes an examination of the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the world's most dangerous volcano--Krakatoa. 50 line drawings.From the bestselling author of "The Professor and the Madman" and "The Map That Changed the World" comes an examination of the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the world's most dangerous volcano--Krakatoa. 50 line drawings.Read Less
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The massive Krakatoa eruption (located WEST of Java) was the first eruption to be recorded scientifically around the world, using the scientific instruments available at the time. Because of the telegraph and newspapers, the accounts of horrified eyewitnesses were reported virtually in real time. It was a fascinating book that documented the astonishing impact that Krakatoa's eruption had on the world: geographical, topographical, meteorological, social, political, economic, and even artistic -- because of the memorable watercolor paintings by a London artist, who painted the spectacular, technicolor sunsets created by the volcanic ash. A must-read for anyone interested in volcanology, tsunamis, and earthquakes; a good read for everyone else.
Jan 3, 2008
This is a good example of fact being more interesting than fiction. Mr. Winchester weaves history of the Polynesian Islands with tales of the Spice Trade, and geology with daring (and stupid) exploits of Western trade and exploration with good explanations of the local cultures. It is another very pointed fact that nature can outwit all man's greatest endeavors.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-03-10 An erudite, fascinating account by one of the foremost purveyors of contemporary nonfiction, this book chronicles the underlying causes, utter devastation and lasting effects of the cataclysmic 1883 eruption of the volcano island Krakatoa in what is now Indonesia. Winchester (The Professor and the Madman; The Map That Changed the World) once again demonstrates a keen knack for balancing rich and often rigorous historical detail with dramatic tension and storytelling. Rather than start with brimstone images of the fateful event itself, Winchester takes a broader approach, beginning with his own viewing of the now peaceful remains of the mountain for a second time in a span of 25 years-and being awed by how much it had grown in that time. This nod to the earth's ceaseless rejuvenation informs the entire project, and Winchester uses the first half of the text to carefully explain the discovery and methods of such geological theories as continental drift and plate tectonics. In this way, the vivid descriptions of Krakatoa's destruction that follow will resonate more completely with readers, who will come to appreciate the awesome powers that were churning beneath the surface before it gave way. And while Winchester graphically illustrates, through eyewitness reports and extant data, the human tragedy and captivating scientific aftershocks of the explosion, he is also clearly intrigued with how it was "a demonstration of the utterly confident way that the world, however badly it has been wounded, picks itself up, continues to unfold its magic and its marvels, and sets itself back on its endless trail of evolutionary progress yet again." His investigations have produced a work that is relevant to scholars and intriguing to others, who will relish it footnotes and all. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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