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Though the epicenter of this marvelously constructed book is San Francisco, Winchester covers much more than just the disaster. He discusses how this particular quake led to greater scientific study of quakes in an attempt to understand the movements of the earth. Trained at Oxford University as a geologist, Winchester is well qualified to discuss the subject, and he clearly explains plate tectonics theory (first introduced in 1968) and the creation of the San Andreas Fault, along with the geologic exploration of the American West in the late 19th century and the evolution of technology used to measure and predict earthquakes. He also covers the social and political shifts caused by the disaster, such as the way that Pentecostalists viewed the quake as "a message of divine approval" and used it to recruit new members into the church, and the rise in the local Chinese population. With many records destroyed in the fire, there was no way to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, and thus many more Chinese were granted citizenship than would have otherwise been. Filled with eyewitness accounts, vivid descriptions, crisp prose, and many delightful meanderings, A Crack in the Edge of the World is a thoroughly absorbing tale. --Shawn Carkonen
I am a Simon Winchester junkie. I love his informative writing style. The story here almost gets lost in all the data. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Karen Johnson
Excellent!!! Geology explained so that the non-technical person can appreciate this important science.Published 3 months ago by Harold Olinger
Brilliant, brilliant writing by a fellow geologist about a complicated problem, made perfectly clear. Wonderful analysis, including history and human insughts.Published 3 months ago by One Happy Retiree
Everything you would ever want to know about the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake including "sister" disasters (Vesuvius erupted just one day earlier than the SF... Read morePublished 4 months ago by DanC
This book was, for me, a pleasant surprise.
First, the text itself was generally well-written and easy to read, with a refreshing bit of wit and personality that is... Read more
Simon Winchester writes books on history from the Oxford dictionary to Krakatoa, to earthquakes to... Read morePublished 5 months ago by funner things
I was extremely disappointed in this book. There was no human element involved. It started off telling about 5 people who survived the San Francisco earthquake but never... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Eileen S.
More about the geology of the earthquake than about the quake itself -- but very interesting nonetheless. Very highly recommended.Published 6 months ago by Andrew