The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906: How San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself / Edition 1

The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906: How San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself / Edition 1

by Philip L. Fradkin
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0520248201

ISBN-13: 9780520248205

Pub. Date: 04/03/2006

Publisher: University of California Press

The first indication of the prolonged terror that followed the 1906 earthquake occurred when a ship steaming off San Francisco’s Golden Gate “seemed to jump clear out of the water.” This gripping account of the earthquake, the devastating firestorms that followed, and the city’s subsequent reconstruction vividly shows how, after the shaking

Overview

The first indication of the prolonged terror that followed the 1906 earthquake occurred when a ship steaming off San Francisco’s Golden Gate “seemed to jump clear out of the water.” This gripping account of the earthquake, the devastating firestorms that followed, and the city’s subsequent reconstruction vividly shows how, after the shaking stopped, humans, not the forces of nature, nearly destroyed San Francisco in a remarkable display of simple ineptitude and power politics. Bolstered by previously unpublished eyewitness accounts and photographs, this definitive history of a fascinating city caught in the grip of the country’s greatest urban disaster will forever change conventional understanding of an event one historian called “the very epitome of bigness.”

Philip Fradkin takes us onto the city’s ruptured streets and into its exclusive clubs, teeming hospitals and refugee camps, and its Chinatown. He introduces the people—both famous and infamous—who experienced these events, such as Jack and Charmian London, Enrico Caruso, James Phelan, and Abraham Ruef. He traces the horrifying results of the mayor’s illegal order to shoot-to-kill anyone suspected of a crime, and he uncovers the ugliness of racism that almost led to war with Japan. He reveals how an elite oligarchy failed to serve the needs of ordinary people, the heroic efforts of obscure citizens, the long-lasting psychological effects, and how all these events ushered in a period of unparalleled civic upheaval.

This compelling look at how people and institutions function in great catastrophes demonstrates just how deeply earthquake, fires, hurricanes, floods, wars, droughts, or acts of terrorism can shape us.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520248205
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
04/03/2006
Edition description:
First Edition, With a New Preface
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
553,378
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Preface

I. BEFORE
Beginnings
The Tale of Two Cities
Science, Politics, and San Francisco
The Hotel and the Opera House

II. DURING
Wednesday, April 18, 1906
Thursday, April 19, 1906
Friday, April 20, 1906

III. AFTER
The Relief Effort
The Upbuilding of San Francisco
The Search for Understanding
The Culture of Disaster
Disaster and Race
The Politics of Disaster
The Fat Lady Sings

Acknowledgments
Notes

Index

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