A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

by Simon Winchester
4.2 17

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A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author Simon Winchester gives a crisp and authoritative reading of 'A Crack in the Edge of the World,' and well he should as he not only is a spellbinding storyteller but also a geologist schooled in the mysteries of the destructions that can assail our world. The recent tragedy in South Asia reminds us once more of the horrific toll taken when our Earth is rent asunder, and through Winchester's eyes we see again the destruction that began on April 18, 1906 in San Francisco. While Winchester is certainly an accomplished scientist he relates the causes of this historic event with such clarity that lay listeners are able to easily grasp the ramifications of the theory of plate techtonics (a theory of geology which sets out to explain continental drift), while at the same time he weaves a fascinating narrative of what happened and what we have learned since that time about earthquakes, their causes and effects. It's well to remember that in 1906 San Francisco was the golden city, formed in part by the Gold Rush and the immigrants who poured in seeking their fortune. It was an exciting place, a place of promise. Then, quite suddenly, along with a number of other towns San Francisco was hit by an earthquake of tremendous proportions - 8.25 on the Richter scale. It took less than 60 seconds for it to ravage 490 blocks and turn 25,000 buildings to rubble. In effect, the city was toppled, soon to be reduced to smoldering ahes by the fires that followed. With 'A Crack in the Edge of the World' Winchester has made a valuable contribution to the archives of American history, and reminded us that we can be destroyed but never defeated. - Gail Cooke
BRKJAGUAR More than 1 year ago
In my plans to go to San Francisco recently, I decided to read Mr. Winchester's book- I had already read two others by him. He is a well researched, very intellectual writer, and extremely detailed. If you want to learn about tectonic plates, and particularly the San Andreas Fault this book would be quite excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simon Winchester's A Crack in the Edge of the World is a very interesting book and easy to read. However, if you are looking for a lot of details regarding the San Francisco Quake as well as the aftermath (rebuilding), this is not the book for you to purchase. A Crack in the Edge of the World has a great amount of details regarding plate tetonics, famous quakes world-wide, history of California and the early days of San Francisco. For me, I enjoyed this information and found it very useful for understanding the San Francisco quake as well as the California fault systems in general. My only criticism about the book was a statment he made regarding the use of camels by the US Army in the West and that being a total failure. In reality, it was not the camels that failed. It was the US Army that moved its attention to the Civil War and the camel "experiment" was over. Despite what Winchester says, it was a success and I would recommend The Last Camel Charge by Forrest Bryant Johnson for information regarding this little known episode on US History. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone that has begun collecting infromation about the 1906 San Francisco Quake as it is a great introduction to the subject.
suzi38 More than 1 year ago
Earthquakes happen and Winchester's book helps explain them. The floating 'islands' that we all live on are those plates, and their bumping and grinding together result in earthquakes. The book focuses more detail on the 1906 in San Francisco, but the explanations of why quakes occur is fascinating. Living in California I naturally have an interest in quakes. Winchester has a conversational tone to his writing that makes the complexies of plate tectonics understandable to the lay person without a geology major background.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A really great read. You'll not get into the beef until about page 140. That's okay, there is alot of interesting stuff about geology and it's history. Some interesting stuff about the California gold rush and some rather interesting information about what the Chinese had to endure in San Francisco in those times. I really enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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lizzieNY More than 1 year ago
A Crack in the Edge of the World, the story of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, is a fascinating story fill with many interesting details, profiles of people, and historic information. At times the geological explanations get difficult, but they are worth rereading and in order to comprehend them. The author digresses a lot, but these are all fascinating digressions that very gracefully lead back to the main ideas of the book. The research seeems inpeccable. The only criticism I have to the book is that the maps don't clearly show what the author is trying to point out. The maps and diagrams could certainly have been made much clearer. But, all in all, the book is af fascinating read.
Lilo02 More than 1 year ago
Very detailed step by step leading up to the catastrophic event of the 1902 San Fransisco earthquake and it's fires. A lot of time on research was seriously spent into putting this book together. This is one of the rare books that talks about events that are not mentioned at all in history books. This is the reason why Simone Winchester is my top favorite athor
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title is misleading as this is more an explanation of teh geology of the great San Francisco quake than it is a history of how it 'changed America'. Still, funky, well-written and very interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it is really good read it and write your own review. You won't regret it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the way Simon Winchester weaves history through the story of the 1906 earthquake. The whole book is very informative and filled with great small stories. I loved the book. It helped me get a better perspective on earthquakes. Thank you Simon ! Luke Thomas Holmquist quakeprediction.com
TheOzMA More than 1 year ago
Well I would say this book is just so-so. Unless you're really into all the technical stuff about plate techtonics not just in the CA area but all over the world, you're going to be bored with the first third or so of the book which is just mildly interesting. It does get very interesting once you get to what the book is really about, the SF earthquake- too bad it just doesn't start with that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I expected this book would have more story telling. There really is very little character development to keep it going. I hoped it was more like a Michener style of writing. Combining fictional or semi-fictional characters in the place setting and then letting the story unfold. This is all geology.