Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections

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9780380973101: Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections
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The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, which obliterated the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, was a disaster that resounds to this day. Now, paleontologist Charles Pellegrino, author of the New York Times bestseller Her Name, Titanic, presents a wealth of new knowledge about the doomed towns –– the people, their last moments, and the aftermath.

By employing the latest in ⥯rensic archaeology⟲esearchers have been able to piece together long–buried stories, including that of wealthy abolitionists (sometimes called Christians) who were supporting a slave girl named Justa against her former master; they have discovered evidence of a thriving ⬩ddle class,⟷hich lived in houses with iron supports, concrete walls, sliding glass doors, and sanitary facilities; they have learned that these Roman citizens, whose medical technology included antibiotics, had a life expectancy not achieved again until the mid–1950s.

The lessons learned from modern scrutiny of that ancient eruption produce disturbing echoes in the present. For the strange physics of volcanic ⣯wnblast⟡nd ⢯llapse column⟷ere at play in the 9–11 World Trade Center disaster. Dr. Pellegrino, who worked at Ground Zero in the attack's aftermath, shares his unique knowledge of these forces, drawing a direct link from past to present, and providing readers with a poignant glimpse into the last moments of our ‭erican Vesuvius."

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About the Author:

Charles Pellegrino has been known to work simultaneously in entomology, forensic physics, paleo-genetics, preliminary design of advanced rocket systems, astrobiology, and marine archaeology. The author of eighteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including Unearthing Atlantis, Dust, Ghosts of the Titanic, and the New York Times bestseller Her Name, Titanic, he is the scientist whose dinosaur-cloning recipe inspired Michael Crichton's bestselling novel Jurassic Park. Dr. Pellegrino lives in New York City.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* The Victorian readers who once thrilled to Bulwer-Lytton's The Last Days of Pompeii would marvel at the secrets today's geologists and archaeologists are wresting from Vesuvius' long-cold cinders. With the same impetuous curiosity and vigorous style that he brought to his earlier investigations of the Titanic and Atlantis, Pellegrino probes Vesuvius' mysteries in an expository narrative of unmatched range and color. Weaving together accounts of ancient authorities with groundbreaking research by forensic archaeologists, Pellegrino captures the nightmarish final hours of Pompeii and Herculaneum, from the first ominous appearance of an "umbrella pine" eruption column above the mountain through the final lethal series of surge clouds and pyroclastic avalanches. But in the flash-fossilized remains of victims, Pellegrino sees powerful reminders of the abiding human hope to understand a brutal universe. Those hopes live still both in the science Pellegrino uses to interpret historic volcanic explosions as the distant consequence of the Big Bang and in the startling connections he makes between the two cities buried by Vesuvius in 79 CE and the Twin Towers destroyed by terrorists in 2001. These grim parallels between the deadly physics of volcanoes-- collapse columns, surge clouds, gravity bombs, shock cocoons--and the horrors of 9/11 are seen by Pellegrino as a valuable resource for these seeking life-saving strategies to deal with future calamities. A compelling fusion of pioneering science and poignant reflection. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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