The New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and Krakatoa takes an adventurous and informative look at earthquakes, as seen through the devastating quake in San Francisco in 1906.
…this is not a straightforward account of the earthquake and subsequent fire but a first-person melange of geology textbook and travelogue grafted onto a recounting of the events that destroyed San Francisco 100 years ago next spring. It's a proudly idiosyncratic book…that places Winchester firmly in the category of author-as-raconteur…Maybe the problem is false advertising…subtitling [the book] America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 suggests not only a new narrative history but an analysis of how the quake changed the country. That's not here. What is hereconsuming half the book, in factis a geology treatise delivered by a roguish old professor who is simply gaga for granite. Winchester has some obvious faults, but lack of enthusiasm isn't one of them.