Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded

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9780670911264: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded

The most terrifying and destructive volcanic cataclysm in modern recorded history took place in August 1883, when a series of incredibly powerful detonations destroyed the landmark island of Krakatoa, in the Sunda Strait, five miles off the western tip of Java. The impact of the explosions was utterly destructive in the immediate region, destorying 200 Javan villages and 40,000 people. The explosions had a dramatic effect that was felt and heard for thousands of miles, over fully ten per cent of the earth's surface - in central Australia, in East Africa, in India and in China. Ships sailing as far away as the Red Sea were covered with thick volcanic ash and immense rafts of pumice, some big enough to support trees and animals, floated in the seas clear across to Africa. Even more amazingly, the explosions were experienced around the whole world - by way of a substantial ten year burst of global warming - by the brilliance of sunsets and by the presence of fine suspended ash in the air. Using contemporaneous reports, this text recounts the events that led up to the cataclysm, as well as those occurring immediately after. Above all, Simon Winchester writes about how the Americans, English, Chinese and Dutch - and also the Javanese and Sumatrans to whom this land belonged - dealt with the unforgettable events of the day that their world exploded.

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Review:

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, Ireland, India and China, and now lives in US. He was a foreign correspondent for more than 30 years and now contributes to a variety of American and British newspapers. His two most recent books were the international bestsellers, The Surgeon Of Crowthorne and The Map That Changed The World.

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Winchester, Simon
Editorial: Viking (2003)
ISBN 10: 0670911267 ISBN 13: 9780670911264
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 2
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Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, Estados Unidos de America)
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Descripción Viking, 2003. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110670911267

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Winchester, Simon
Editorial: Viking
ISBN 10: 0670911267 ISBN 13: 9780670911264
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 1
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Cloud 9 Books
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Descripción Viking. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0670911267 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.1180911

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