Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded

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9780141005171: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded
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Simon Winchester's brilliant chronicle of the destruction of the Indonesian island of Krakatoa in 1883 charts the birth of our modern world. He tells the story of the unrecognized genius who beat Darwin to the discovery of evolution; of Samuel Morse, his code and how rubber allowed the world to talk; of Alfred Wegener, the crack-pot German explorer and father of geology. In breathtaking detail he describes how one island and its inhabitants were blasted out of existence and how colonial society was turned upside-down in a cataclysm whose echoes are still felt to this day.

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It may seem a stretch to connect a volcanic eruption with civil and religious unrest in Indonesia today, but Simon Winchester makes a compelling case. Krakatoa tells the frightening tale of the biggest volcanic eruption in history using a blend of gentle geology and narrative history. Krakatoa erupted at a time when technologies like the telegraph were becoming commonplace and Asian trade routes were being expanded by northern European companies. This bustling colonial backdrop provides an effective canvas for the suspense leading up to August 27th, 1883, when the nearby island of Krakatoa would violently vaporize. Winchester describes the eruption through the eyes of its survivors, and readers will be as horrified and mesmerized as eyewitnesses were as the death toll reached nearly 40,000 (almost all of whom died from tsunamis generated by the unimaginably strong shock waves of the eruption). Ships were thrown miles inshore, endless rains of hot ash engulfed those towns not drowned by 100 foot waves, and vast rafts of pumice clogged the hot sea. The explosion was heard thousands of miles away, and the eruption's shock wave traveled around the world seven times. But the book's biggest surprise is not the riveting catalog of the volcano's effects; rather, it is Winchester's contention that the Dutch abandonment of their Indonesian colonies after the disaster left local survivors to seek comfort in radical Islam, setting the stage for a volatile future for the region. --Therese Littleton

About the Author:

Simon Winchester was born and educated in England, has lived in Africa, India and Asia, and now divides his time between the US and Scotland. Having reported from almost everywhere during an award-winning twenty-year career as a Guardian foreign correspondent, he is currently the Asia-Pacific editor for Conde Nast Traveler and contributes to a number of American magazines, as well as to the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator and the BBC. He is the author of several bestselling works of non-fiction.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060838591: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883

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ISBN 10:  0060838590 ISBN 13:  9780060838591
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2005
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9780066212852: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded

Harper..., 2003
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9780060937362: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883

Harper..., 2004
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9780786257294: Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded: August 27, 1883

Thornd..., 2003
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9780670911264: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded

Viking, 2003
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