At just before 8:00 a.m. local time on December 26, 2004, a monstrously powerful earthquake erupted on the floor of the Indian Ocean. The quake roared across the seabed for a full ten minutes?most earthquakes last only a few seconds?and is estimated to have had a shocking magnitude of 9.15 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake, felt as far away as Alaska, generated a cataclysmic tsunami, which devastated coastlines bordering the Indian Ocean; ...
At just before 8:00 a.m. local time on December 26, 2004, a monstrously powerful earthquake erupted on the floor of the Indian Ocean. The quake roared across the seabed for a full ten minutes—most earthquakes last only a few seconds—and is estimated to have had a shocking magnitude of 9.15 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake, felt as far away as Alaska, generated a cataclysmic tsunami, which devastated coastlines bordering the Indian Ocean; Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, even Somali coastal areas were all ravaged. As many as 250,000 people died in one of the most horrifying natural disasters in the modern age.
In Wave of Destruction, Erich Krauss tells the stories of four families who escaped the tsunami but not the horror it sowed. Beginning with their fight for life as a forty-foot wave ripped through their community, and ending with their slow, confusing attempt to rebuild after the last of the bodies were buried, Krauss depicts the trials of ordinary people who braved the worst of nature and exemplified the best of man.
A gifted writer and expert in Thai culture, Krauss gracefully weaves these stories together to give a fuller picture of the tsunami’s toll and the great resilience shown by those that survived it and rebuilt their lives in its wake. Powerful, moving, and startlingly immediate, Wave of Destruction allows the reader to experience one of the worst disasters the world has ever known through the eyes of those who will never forget it.
Kraus (Wall of Flame) provides a compelling account of four families in a Thai village devastated by the tsunami of December 26, 2004. The author first describes the harsh everyday existence of these villagers before the tsunami: a life of poverty in which children are sent off to work for abusive bosses, of earning a hazardous living by diving for tin or stealing lobsters from Burmese traps. The villagers Krauss describes are courageous: one woman, Dang, became an activist, fighting the powerful tin-mining company trying to force her from the land. Puek, blinded in an accident, rallied to help his wife, Lek, after the death of their young son. Krauss then details the tragic tsunami and its aftermath. Trying unsuccessfully to save a baby as wave after wave comes over her, one woman knows "she would never sleep another night." A thug hired by the mining company keeps Dang from returning home to seek her family. Even the aid efforts, these survivors report, are not always blameless: Christian relief workers tell the Buddhist Wichien he must convert to Christianity to get their help, and vacationing foreigners are treated before more critically injured Thais. Passionately told, this tragic story portrays the full human cost of natural devastation. Maps not seen by PW. Agents, Frank Scatoni and Greg Dinkin. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Krauss (On the Line: Inside the U.S. Border Patrol) became involved with tsunami relief efforts while traveling in Thailand when the last wave struck Southeast Asia. He met and interviewed four families around the village of Nam Khem, who had miraculously survived the deadly surge, but with great losses. The first section of the book, somewhat over-extended, deals with the individuals' stories and situations before the tsunami, setting the stage for the account of their riveting survival. Krauss's narrative goes into high gear with the survivors' experiences during the tsunami and the eyewitness accounts of the destruction and aftermath in the fishing villages along the Thai coast. But even more important, this book takes its perspective from the hard-working, ordinary Thais themselves, rather than the Westerners vacationing there. Its authentic, journalistic tone successfully conveys the mixed culture of the area where Buddhist temples coexist with cell phone technology. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Elizabeth Morris, Illinois Fire Svc. Inst. Lib., Champaign Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A journalist intercuts the stories of four families from the Thai coastal village of Nam Khem that lost nearly 5,000 inhabitants in the December 2004 tsunami. Krauss (On the Line, 2004, etc.) was in Thailand at the end of 2004 working on a book about Thai martial arts. But he quickly became involved in the relief effort when the tsunami struck. Although he delays revealing his involvement until the very end, it is evident in his richly detailed text that he had extraordinary access to some remarkable people. He employs the third person but steadfastly maintains the points-of-view of the subjects. He begins with descriptions of Nam Khem, a tin-mining town which, he notes, was in some ways similar to those lawless American camps of the 19th-century (e.g., Deadwood). He tells how his subjects came to the town, how they met one another, fell in love (in some cases) and struggled to build lives as fishermen, divers, boxers, waitresses. Most had very little but family and determination. The author then tells how the tsunami formed and how the waves arrived. Readers may be surprised to learn that more than one hit the Thai beaches; the waves came in a series. The most wrenching moments of this astonishing account involve the desperate struggles of Krauss's subjects to survive, and then to find their loved ones. Each family suffers grievous loss. The author occasionally takes us away from his principals-we see medical personnel coping with hundreds, then thousands, of injured; we watch policemen attempt to organize and restore order. And, sadly, we watch the human sharks circling. Looters. Swindlers. Corrupt officials skimming supplies and cash. Thugs stealing land. A nasty unnamed Christianorganization arrives but withholds help until the (mostly Buddhist) people embrace Jesus; some of the desperate do. Illuminates our stunning capacity to survive, to tend to one another, to hope. And to deceive, crush and steal from those weaker than ourselves. Agent: Frank R. Scatoni/Venture Literary
ERICH KRAUSS is uniquely qualified to write this story of the world's worst natural disaster. He has a degree in geomorphology with a specialization in natural disasters and is the author of Wall of Flame, a non-fiction account of the 2003 California wildfires. He resides in Thailand and San Diego, California.