PubTalk 10/2005 — A Crack in the Edge of the World
America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906
by Simon Winchester
- The international bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and Kra katoa vividly brings to life the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake that leveled a city symbolic of America's relentless western expansion. Simon Winchester has also fashion ed an enthralling and informative look at the tumultuous subterranean world that produces earthquakes, the planet's most sudden and destructive force.
- In the early morning hours of April 18, 1906, San Francisco and a string of towns to i ts north-northwest and the south-southeast were overcome by an enormous shaking that was compounded by the violent shocks of an earthquake, registering 8.25 on th e Richter scale. The quake resulted from a rupture in a part of the San Andreas fault, which lies underneath the earth's surface along the northern coast of Calif ornia. Lasting little more than a minute, the earthquake wrecked 490 blocks, toppled a total of 25,000 buildings, broke open gas mains, cut off electric power lines th roughout the Bay area, and effectively destroyed the gold rush capital that had stood there for a half century.^M
- Simon Winchester brings his inimitable storytelling abilities -- as well as his unique understanding of geology -- to this extraordinary event, exploring not only what happened in northern California in 1906 but what we have learned since about the geologica l underpinnings that caused the earthquake in the first place. But his achievement is even greater: he positions the quake's significance along the earth's geolo gical timeline and shows the effect it had on the rest of twentieth-century California and American history.
- A Crack in the Edge of the World is the definitive account of the San Francisco earthquake. It is also a fascinating exploration of a legendary event that changed the way we look at the planet on which we live.