The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883
By Simon Winchester
Harper, Hardcover, 9780066212852, 432pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2003
List Price: $25.95*
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The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth's most dangerous volcano -- Krakatoa.
The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa -- the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster -- was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event that has only very recently been properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round die planet for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogotá and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims: one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere.
Simon Winchester's long experience in the world wandering as well as his knowledge of history and geology give us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event as he brings it telling back to life.
“A rattling good read.”
-Boston Sunday Globe
“Brilliant...One of the best books ever written about the history and significance of a natural disaster.”
-New York Times
“Krakatoa is a pleasure from beginning to end.”
-Boston Sunday Globe
“The rich and fascinating KRAKATOA confirms [Winchester’s] preeminence. Janet Maslin
-International Herald Tribune
“Winchester...is noted for his ability to turn scholarly history into engrossing narrative.”
“Winchester dramatically delivers...the book is absorbing...”
“A real-life story bigger than any Hollywood blockbuster.”
“Winchester’s exceptional attention to detail never falters.”
-San Francisco Chronicle
“Winchester scores.” (byline Baltimore Sun, printed in Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
“Masterful build-up of literary and geological tension.”
“A good read.”
-Washington Post Book World
“Winchester once again demonstrates a keen knack for balancing rich and often rigorous historical detail with dramatic tension and storytelling.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Supremely well told: a fine exception to the dull run of most geological writing.” starred Kirkus Review
-Kirkus Review (starred review)