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The Fire Came By: The Riddle of the Great Siberian Explosion Mass Market Paperback – April, 1977

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; 1st Edition Thus edition (April 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044689396X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446893961
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 3.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,070,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seeing as how the authors had to scour Soviet-era records and sift through eyewitness accounts from newspapers of the time, they managed to get just enough information together to make a reader ask questions--and maybe get a goosebump or two.
In 1908 (not 1909...'Ghostbusters' was sooooo wrong!), a meteor was spotted flying over the Tunguska region of Siberia. The locals saw it, watched it come down, felt the sonic booms of its passage . . . then watched it change its course one hundred-eighty degrees in mid-flight. The object then exploded, causing damage to the landscape and injuries to people that would not be seen, explained, or understood until the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts nearly forty years later. The heat and concussion from the blast were felt well over sixty miles away.
What happened? What was it? Nobody knows for sure, but with the tantalizing tidbits found herein, you'll have your own ideas. The authors don't say definitely what it was, but they have their opinions, which they offer alongside others they've encountered along the way, from Russian geologists and meteorologists to conspiracy-theorists.
Feel like having your beliefs tweaked or your confident views on alien life shaken up? Pick this one up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fascinating inquiry into the 1908 Tunguska "event", informative, readable and entertaining. The Tungus region, even today, is remote, harsh and difficult to reach. The authors devote a chapter each to different aspects of the event, providing historical, cultural and geological background, offering eye-witness accounts, presenting the evidence and evaluating the theories propounded over the ensuing decades, sometimes taking fascinating detours into other areas. The chapter entitled "The Fire Came By" is probably the best example of this.

We also meet some of the scientists and writers who played an important part in gathering evidence and advancing theories. I especially enjoyed reading about Leonid Kulik (the leader of the first expeditions to the region, starting some 20 years after the event) and Soviet Science Fiction writer Alexander Kazantsev, who presented his theories in fictional form. Brief but beautifully chosen excerpts from books by other authors, including Carl Sagan and Loren Eiseley, enliven the discussions and help fire the imagination, although the authors are more than capable in this department.

Perhaps the most intriguing quality of the book is that none of the "standard" theories fits all the evidence or eye-witness testimony, which must have been maddeningly frustrating to the various parties involved. Whether you agree with the authors' conclusions or not, this is a fine example of popular science writing... one that I finished much too quickly.

The book also has an Introduction by Isaac Asimov, as well as 2 Appendices by Russian scientists (one by Leonid Kulik himself), so you can't go wrong there. Finally, a Bibliography of both English and Russian publications is provided.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i enjoyed john baxter and thomas atkins' book. they do a very good job of painting in the historical background of tunguska explosion and the difficulties of the first explorers. they go a lot into the first explorer, leonid kulik and the amount of struggle he had to endure to get to the explosion site, through untraveled terrain, swamp, bogs, horrible weather and limited supplies. four things kulik discovered in his expeditions: the radically leveled forest, the branchless "telegraph trees" standing in the center, unusual burns on the trees and no fragments of meterorite anywhere. the book has many pictures of the devestation and are fascinating. as the decades past by, meterorite and comet explosions were disgarded for a possible extraterrestial object. thousands of soil samples have been taken by hundreds of researchers of various scientific backgrounds have combed the siberian landscape. and what they find is very intriguing. the nature of the explosion was a high-altitude nuclear explosion of 40 megatons. the cause of the explosion is still under investigation. there is a brief introduction by isaac asimov. i highly recommend reading this book if you are curious about what happened over russia in 1908.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most incredible part of the story is the complete lack of any explanation that fits all of the equations. The Fire Came By hints that the story of a UFO exploding fits as many of the questions as any other explanations. The reader has to agree. A critical part of the analysis s is where the first investigator of Russia's to the atom bombing of Hiroshima is the same scientist that had performed the investigation at Vana Vara in/Siberia (the epicenter of the explosion)

He said they were the same thing, only the Siberian explosion was 2000 times as powerful. It is an awesome story and still remains one of the world's biggest riddles.
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Format: Hardcover
I first read this book not long after it was published in 1976. That was a long time ago, as concerns the study of meteorite impacts or, in the case of this one, a meteor airburst -- one that explodes in the atmosphere.

It's mostly of interest now for historical reasons. It was written by a theater professor and a professional writer and, all things considered, they did a pretty good job. I liked the book then and, with a few reservations, still like it.

Back in those days, nearly 40 years ago now, most geologists did not believe that meteors were responsible for most of the craters on earth or moon. The first evidence for the demise of the dinosaurs coming from an impacting meteorite didn't show up until 1979 and then it took a decade (and more) to convince the scientific world.

This book tries to look at all the possibilities: asteroid, comet, a black hole that hit earth, and even an alien nuclear-powered spacecraft that blew up. Now, after years and many studies, the most likely answer is either a small asteroid or comet that exploded in the air.

It is still a readable book and gives a good overview of the days after the event, when there were mysterious seismic readings and late nights that glowed (from the dust that was produced by the blast). And it covers the original Kulik expedition in the 1920s, which tried to find evidence for a meteorite impact. They found very little, but that was back in those long-gone days when they didn't know much about impacts and less about airbursts. Things have changed, but a little history of the subject is a good thing I think.
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