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Vesuvius by Gillian Darley
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242649,489 (3.5)11

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This is a delightful work, and leaves me wanting to read more in the series of "Wonders of the Word." While starting with Pliny's observations, the most interesting parts of the book for me were the role that Vesuvius played in various Grand Tours taken in the 17th and 18th centuries. The accounts by these travelers are fascinating, as is the role played by the volcano in the development of modern geology. The present situation, reminiscent of that of ancient witless Pompeii, ends the book on a somber note. ( )
  kateashenden | Jun 7, 2012 |
I picked up this intriguing-looking little book from the counter of my favorite bookstore when I was buying something else, and I am glad it was little because it wasn't as intriguing as I had hoped. Darley looks at how others have looked at Vesuvius, from the classical era to the Renaissance to the romantics to the budding scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries to today, from artists and writers to diplomats and impressarios and tourists. While this is mildly interesting, although more than I wanted to know, I would have preferred a different book, one that talked about the geology and the impact on the people who lived and live near Vesuvius, including the ones who even today are building their houses further and further up the slope of a still active volcano. So I can't really criticize the book; it just wasn't completely to my taste. Fun pictures, though.
1 vote rebeccanyc | Mar 7, 2012 |
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A history of the world's most famous volcano, looming above the Bay of Naples: highlights include the eruption of 79 which buried Pompeii and that of 1944 as the Allies occupied Naples; the mythology of the ancients and the theories of early and scientific vulcanology; the visits of Goethe, Shelley and Mark Twain, and the researches of Emma Hamilton's husband.… (more)

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