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Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 (2003)

by Simon Winchester

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,5031032,556 (3.79)256
"The author examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth's most dangerous volcano - Krakatoa." "The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa - the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster - was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event that has only very recently been properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round the planet for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogota and Washington, D. C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all - in view of today's new political climate - the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims: one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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» See also 256 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Loved expanding my awareness of plate tectonics, the connections between past events and the world we live in today.
  Elizabeth80 | Jul 3, 2020 |
A non-fiction account of the 1883 Krakatoa explosion. This book was way too science oriented for me. The history of trade for 300 years before the eruption was fine, but then we get into the geological periods as well as the debate on evolution, it was just too much! I wish I would have chosen a novel based on this event. I was in pain and suffering while reading this! I "enjoyed" about 25% of the book and suffered through the rest. 416 pages ( )
1 vote Tess_W | May 10, 2020 |
I read this for the "A Character With A Career You Wish You Had" part of my 2019 reading challenge. I found it pretty slow and I didn't care for a lot of the sections, which surprised me because I really enjoyed reading it the first time a few years ago. It was still extremely educational and I would love to go visit the area one day. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

With Krakatoa Simon Winchester gives a very interesting account not only of the actual eruption of the Krakatoa and its immediate aftermath, but also spend a lot of time to set the scene and look into consequences of the eruption.

It was the first book I read by Simon Winchester and I enjoyed it a lot. Not everything was new information for me, but I liked the writing and the general pace of the book. I would recommend it. ( )
  Floratina | Dec 7, 2019 |
This is an exhaustive and epic work, built around the explosion and disappearance of Krakatoa between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, on 27th August 1883.
The work is exhaustive because it covers - in richly-footnoted detail - the geological causes and events which led to the explosion; and it is epic because it deals with the consequences - geological, physical, botanical and political - which flowed from it.
Extensive maps and illustrations, a comprehensive reading-list, acknowledgements and an index complete this 400-page book, which I found a challenging read, but which nevertheless makes it my "go to" reference work in the event of any future significant seismic activity in the subduction zone which underlies modern Indonesia and the Philippines.
The author tells us that this zone alone contains at least eighty-seven volcanoes, so I expect to be referring to this substantial geological primer again in future! ( )
  SunnyJim | Oct 4, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Most controversially, Winchester attempts to credit Krakatoa with the rise of militant Islamism in Indonesia.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Winchester, SimonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chinami, ToshihikoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Cumptich, Roberto de VicqJacket designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jay, ConeyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vannithone, SounIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I dedicate this book, with pleasure and with thanks, to my mother and father.
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(Prelude) It was early on a warm summer's evening in the 1970's, as I stood in a palm plantation high on a green hillside in western Java, that I saw for the first time, silhouetted against the faint blue hills of faraway Sumatra, the small gathering of islands that is all that remains of what was once a mountain called Krakatoa.
Though we think first of Java as an eponym for coffee (or, to some today, a computer language), it is in fact the trading of aromatic tropical spices on which the fortunes of the great island's colonizers and Western discoverers were first founded.
Indonesia itself has and has had more volcanoes and more volcanic activity than any other political entity on the earth, in all recorded history.
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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