Customer Reviews for

Surviving Galeras

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2001

    Surviving Galeras

    This fabulously exciting and well written book grabs you and drags you into the world of volcanoes. A true life story with great science accessible even to the non scientist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2001

    Riveting, honest account of field scientists

    Surviving Galeras provides a fascinating and valuable read. The book blends solid, clearly explained science with insightful and honest descriptions of the events before, during, and after the catastrophic eruption of Galeras volcano in Columbia. As a field geologist who occasionally works in risky environments (but not volcanoes), I found Williams¿ description of the personalities who do this sort of work and the way they reached decisions to be familiar and, more importantly, entirely rational and reasonable. Williams and Montaigne allow the reader to really understand how this type of field scientist works. Anyone who has been in the midst of an event where people died or were seriously injured knows that memories don¿t get recorded accurately. Williams acknowledges the problem and presents the memories of others as well as his own. Some of Williams¿s critics have placed an unnecessary blackmark on both their profession and their agencies by airing ¿dirty laundry¿. Public rantings have ranged from legitimate (but overly inflammatory) debate over the value of seismic vs. gas flux data to asinine declarations that mandating hard hats would have minimized this tragedy. Fortunately, Williams and Montaigne have stayed with the high road in their book and avoided the temptation of pandering to journalist in search of creating conflict. In this book, Williams shows great respect for all his colleagues, even his critics, and one senses the effort to provide balance to the story. I have only been in the field with one person (Patty Mothes) in the book and she is portrayed exactly as the person I know. Williams does not minimize the credit due to his colleagues, whether for their scientific endeavors or their heroism on the fateful day. He shows remarkable class in honoring his graduate students (a trait all too rare in American academia), praising his fallen colleagues and his rescuers, and presenting the conflicting views of his critics. Read Surviving Galeras. It¿s a great read¿.entertaining, informative, and an honest summary of how cutting edge field science gets done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2001

    Surviving Galeras

    I really enjoyed this well written true life story. The geology and history were great and well integrated into the gripping tale of death, injury and rescue. As good as the Perfect Storm. Once I started I finished it in one night. I wish I had decided to be a volcanologist not a chemist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2001

    find & follow your passion...

    A well written suspenseful account of the 1993 Galeras volcano eruption. A story that serves to remind us of the beauty & brevity of life. As a professor and geologist Stanley Williams is able to transport us from the lecture hall to the site of the events which would alter the lives of many. All of the people in this very honest rememberance are vividly portrayed and we are afforded the opportunity to see the passionate, driven individuals behind the label 'scientist'. Volconology is not for someone of weak character and everyone on Galeras that fateful day was there because of their desire for answers. Male, female, novice & expert were all in search of the secrets that volcanoes keep. Williams has been to hell and lived to share his experience with us. Some would say that his trials have been of his own making. I contend that in the short time we have here it is better to live in the active pursuit of knowledge rather than being content with uninformed speculation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2001

    Surviving Galeras

    I really liked this book. Once I started it I could not put it down. The narrative focused back and forth between the events leading up to the eruption and the history and science of volcanology. The author made me understand what draws people to the dangerous world of volcanoes. As good or better than the Perfect Storm

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2001

    Riveting introduction to a dangerous, important trade

    If an initial impression of this book as a bunch of scientists making measurements around volcanoes doesn¿t sound like much of an adventure yarn, you¿d be wrong. This book effectively draws you in. You are caught up not just in the exploits of a group of scientists during a tragedy at an Andean volcano, but also drawn into the study of volcanoes. This book is more than a gripping tale of men and women pursuing a dangerous vocation. You get a glimpse inside the mind of an eminent volcanologist to find what makes him tick. These insights into the mind of the practitioner of a dangerous craft remind me of Norman MacLean¿s writing on smokejumpers in Young Men and Fire. The authors make a convincing case for the fact that volcanologists are far more than adrenaline junkies, but dedicated pioneers working at the forefront of a new science, with the health and safety of millions of people in the balance. Finally, as a scientist whose work on an active Colombian volcano has been published in Volcanology and Geothermal Research, I was shocked by the accusations surfacing in Victoria Bruce¿s attack on Dr. Williams. Surviving Galeras makes a very effective and convincing defense of Williams from her personal attacks in her new, second-hand account of the events surrounding the Galeras tragedy. The on-going feud between Williams and a handful of equally egotistical scientific 'colleagues' is an unfortunately nasty but too common feature of modern, competitive science. This feud, upon which Bruce¿s book feeds, in no way detracts from the effectiveness of Surviving Galeras as a truthful, riveting introduction to a dangerous yet critically important trade.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    frightening but flowing account of volcanoes

    In 1993, volcanologist Stanley Williams and cohorts were in Columbia studying Galeras when the volcano suddenly erupted. Several of the professor¿s colleagues were instantly dead and he was severely injured. Some of his peers manage an incredible rescue of the geology professor who would surely have died without their help. In spite of their acknowledged expertise, the volcano still won. Professor Williams and Fen Montaigne use that incredible deadly incident to provide a frightening but flowing account of today¿s potentially deadly volcanoes, earth¿s natural terrorists. SURVIVING GALERAS is incredibly good and scary, as it¿s a real world tome that just like its subject that takes no prisoners. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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