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Denial of Disaster: The Untold Story and Photographs of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 Hardcover – December 1, 1989


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Cameron & Company; 1st edition (December 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0918684331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0918684332
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 11.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Great unique book about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.
Datadrifter
Excellent descriptions of the cowardice and heroism displayed during the earthquake and subsequent fire.
Stephen D. Evans
This book is the must have for anyone interested in this history of San Francisco.
Erik E. Byberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James Dalessandro on June 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ten years ago, I discovered Denial of Disaster and was floored by what I read. This is the definitive historical work on the greatest natural disaster in U.S. History. The research by Gladys Hansen and her team, former Fire Chief Emmett Condon and the superb journalist David Fowler, forever destroys the official lies that have lasted nearly a century. The official death toll is 478: Gladys has proven that more than 3,500 died. The death toll is easily over 6,000. The photographs are superb, the text strong and inviting, the eyewitness accounts are breath taking. Yes, I may be biased: my novel, 1906, is a fictional account of the last, great days of the city of San Francisco as it once was. But my response to this book was immediate and dramatic, long before it inspired me to write my novel. Periodically, I revisit it like an old friend. There is nothing quite like it in the entire book world. It makes history come alive. James Dalessandro
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By K. L Sadler VINE VOICE on March 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book because it was so highly recommended, after I had finished reading the fiction, 1906. That book gave a lot of information that was new to me, even though I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and my father worked in SF. This book is simply incredible. The amount of photographs of all kinds, including panoramic scenes meant for stereotopic viewers that were popular at that time, and postcards that were 'colored' made this book an incredible find. Not only have I been through it several times, but also I brought it back to my father and mother who were in awe of the detail and the photography provided by the author of this book. Her information concerning individuals, concerning the inability of the fire companies to successfully fight any of the fires (water pipes were broken as were roads made inaccessible)...intrigued me and my father who was a civil engineer.

Then my nephew who is studying at a nearby college came and went through the book, as he is studying urban planning. He was very interested in the modern day SF and the author's explanations of why SF is in an even more precarious position should another quake as strong as the 1906 quake happen, due to continued ignoring of the need for quake proof buildings and water lines, breaks between houses, the fact that SF actually has less fire departments now then in 1906 and other major problems.

I love San Francisco as a city and where I grew up, but quite frankly, I would never dream of moving back there, partly because of this book. Yet there are other cities equally at risk over poor urban planning (new Orleans for one), and this book would be a good required reading for those going into urban planning and environmental impact on human populations.

A truly great book...

Karen Sadler
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By RALPH G GRAY on June 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This NOT just another of those earthquake books!
Everyone devoted to the serious study of earthquakes or the mitigation of their hazard--geophysicists, seismologists, civil and structural engineers, architects, disaster relief workers, fire personnel, police, building officials and so on, all must have this book for their professional libraries. Yet they might overlook it for years, as I did, and I'm in that group. We might pass it by because it is so brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated, but there aren't any graphs or partial differential equations or whatever.
Interestingly, it is published by Cameron and Co., whose "Over London" etc. books have those astounding aerial photos. Well, I thought the new photos in this book must be by Cameron, they're so good. No, they're by Richard Hansen, Gladys Hansen's son, who also researched the old photos, and is a top-notch professional photographer, obviously.
So this is a top quality coffee-table book. But it is much, much more. It's the result of Hansen's many years of meticulous research and awesome scholarship on the subject, still going on, tracking the growing number of casualties (currently over 4000). It is an expose' of disgusting corruption, of arson and military looting. It describes the shaking, maps the areas of bad ground, the route of the fires, describes the misery of the refugees, and, finally, almost when one can stand no more bad stuff, true gut-level heroism. All is told in restrained, elegant prose, somehow making the catastrophe more profound. It is also the testament of a great San Francisco Fire Chief, terse, professional, of quietly distressing implications and of immense value to planners. It is a treasure, a classic. BUY IT!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erik E. Byberg on November 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is the must have for anyone interested in this history of San Francisco. As a fifth generation native of the "City" who had reilitives who lived through this natural disaster, I can wholeheartedly say that this is the the quinticental book on the subject. It is filled with never before published pictures of both the distruction and the notiable public figures of the day. and dose a very good job of correcting some of the misinformation attributed to the original official record of the earthquake and fire. Simple a great book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you ever wanted a single book; graphic in all details & accounts of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906-you'll want our City Librarian's excellent reference. Beside that Gladys Hansen is to San Francisco history what Jack London was to Oakland's Library...makes this an "official" book! What makes this an outstanding work in my opinion a "required" book for all school classrooms, is that in addition to introducing who-knows-how-many individuals to the joy of historical research-she "knocked the socks off the establishment" when by her own authority-determined that the record was wrong concerning what a large impact this tragedy had had; and through common-sense investigations gave us a better picture of what really happened. I am recommending that teachers everywhere have "Denial of Disaster" on their reading lists as we celebrate this 150th Anniversary of California.
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