Wrath of God: The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755

Overview

A gripping account of one of the most devastating catastrophes ever to hit a major city in the Western world

 

Just after half past nine on the morning of Sunday, November 1, 1755, the end of the world came to the city of Lisbon. On a day that had begun with blue skies and gentle warmth, Portugal’s proud capital was struck by a massive earthquake estimated at 8.7 on the Richter scale—more powerful than the 1906 San Francisco or the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquakes. An ...

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Former Library book. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase ... benefits world literacy! Read more Show Less

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Overview

A gripping account of one of the most devastating catastrophes ever to hit a major city in the Western world

 

Just after half past nine on the morning of Sunday, November 1, 1755, the end of the world came to the city of Lisbon. On a day that had begun with blue skies and gentle warmth, Portugal’s proud capital was struck by a massive earthquake estimated at 8.7 on the Richter scale—more powerful than the 1906 San Francisco or the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquakes. An hour later, Lisbon and the Algarve coast were engulfed by a series of tsunamis, while in areas of the city unaffected by the waves, fires raged for six days, completing the destruction of Europe’s fourth-largest city. By the time it was all over, 60,000 people had perished and 85 per cent of Lisbon’s buildings, plus an unimaginable wealth of cultural treasures, had been destroyed by quake, fire, or water. The earthquake had a searing impact on the European psyche, and for Portugal itself, despite an ambitious program of reconstruction—which gave birth to the modern science of seismology—the quake ushered in a period of decline. Drawing on primary sources, a vivid picture is painted of a city and society changed forever by a day of terror. The quake itself and its immediate aftermath is described in detail, as are the political, economic, and cultural consequences. 

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In 1755, a tremendous earthquake shattered Lisbon. Despite the scale of the tragedy, the earthquake is now largely forgotten. In this paperback import from the UK, Paice (Lost Lion of Empire) seeks to reclaim the importance of the event. That he succeeds is in good measure owing to his narrative skills. The reader is provided with a description of Lisbon before the disaster strikes; once the scene has been set, the story of the disaster is related from the perspective of firsthand observers, which gives the narrative an immediacy and poignancy that would have been absent otherwise. Unfortunately, the reader is presented chiefly with the personal experiences of British and North American residents and tourists. It would have been useful to have the perspectives of a more diverse cross-section of observers. Paice concludes the book by examining the earthquake's effects on both Portuguese politics and Western thought. These final chapters are less gripping but bolster Paice's contention that the earthquake had a lasting impact. VERDICT This is a compelling, fast-paced read that will greatly appeal to most readers of popular history. Recommended.—Sharon E. Reidt, Marlboro Coll. Lib., VT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847247940
  • Publisher: Quercus
  • Publication date: 7/9/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Paice is the author of Lost Lion of Empire: The Life of ‘Cape-to-Cairo’ Grogan, Tip and Run: The Untold Tragedy of the Great War in Africa, and World War I: The African Front.

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