This *could* have been an interesting audiobook,...but...the author, who is also the reader, is droll and I found it difficult to concentrate on his narrative. This is not totally about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but a survey of geological processes all over the earth and and a more holistic approach to science that emerged after an active period of earthquakes worldwide in 1906. This is one of the only audiobooks that I feel is better in text than the listening experience.
I enjoyed this look at not just the San Francisco earthquake, but also other earthquakes that have happened in North America. This book does get very scientific in some spots, but it does tell an interesting story.
Try as I might, I could not get involved in this book and so did not finish. As far as I went, it was well written and wide-ranging, both of which I've come to expect of Winchester. He doesn't just recap news reports of the quake; he expands on them, and includes a good deal of historical and geological background that make the events more understandable.
That's good to a point, but in providing so much background he often wanders away from what should be the main focus of the narrative. Also, as has been true of several of his more recent books, he tends to talk about himself and his exploits far too frequently, which is a further distraction. Winchester has a lot of knowledge to offer, but needed to deliver it more succinctly.
Absorbing--but be ready for more than just a news account of the earthquake and fire. You will be learning about the 'new' science of geology. This is a good compliment ot Winchester's earlier book "Krakatoa".
Detailed and interesting account of the geological factors leading to the 1906 earthquake that destroyed so much of San Francisco and the human, social, political, and historical impacts of that disaster.
This book is very interesting. A whole lot to learn. I was about to give up on it after 2 or 3 discs because I found a lot of geological foundation. There is so much included that I felt overwhelmed. But I decided to stick with it and am glad I did. As the book progresses the stories of places, people, things, reasons, events are so well told and intertwine so fully that after a while it becomes amazing. Having lived in the Bay Area of California, especially during the EQ of 1989, I have a very real relationship to the stories that were told of the 1906 EQ and others. Quite an experience that doesn't stop....even after this many years. So, read it, enjoy. :)
Full of interesting geological and not-so-geological information about California. Like most of his books, Winchester wanders all over the place in telling about the earthquake, so you learn about other places and times, as well.
Sabrina B. reviewed A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (P.S.) on
The book is supposed to be about the SF Earthquake, but is really more about the author and his adventures in geology. The actual earthquake doesn't appear until late in the book and is only discussed in 1 or 2 chapters.
Also, the author tries to tie the earthquake to the beginning of the Pentecostal movement - which he clearly disdains.
This is a hardcover book. It has a couple of small places on the front cover that were torn a little when someone took off the sticker price, I think. One small tear in cover on back cover. Otherwise, in good shape itself. The below review is NOT mine. This is NOT an advanced reader's copy. This book brings to life the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake that leveled a city symbolic of America's relentless western expansion. Simon Winchester has also fashioned an enthralling and informative look at the tumultuous subterranean world that produces earthquakes, the planet's most sudden and destructive force. In the early morning hours of April 18, 1906, San Francisco and a string of towns to its north-northwest and south-southeast were overcome by an enormous shaking that was compounded by the violent shocks of an earthquake, registering 8.25 on the Richter scale. Lasting little more than a minute, the earthquake wrecked 490 blocks, toppled a total of 25,000 buildings, broke open gas mains, cut off electric power lines throghout the Bay Area, and effectively destroyed the Gold Rush capital that had stood there for a half century. Perhaps more significant than the tremors and rumbling, which affected a swath of California more than 200 miles long, were the fires that took over the city for three days, leaving chaos and horror in their wake. The human tragedy included the deaths of upwards of 700 people, with more than 250,000 left homeless.