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The Quake of '89: As Seen by the News Staff…

The Quake of '89: As Seen by the News Staff of the San Francisco Chronicle

by Herb Caen

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Mark Twain called San Francisco, "heaven on the half-shell". It's a city with a bejeweled skyline framed against the blue ocean and the blue sky. It's also known as Baghdad By The Bay and The Barbary Coast, nicknames which provide an honest glance of a place which could slip beneath the waves at any moment. When the Loma Prieta quake hit at rush hour in 1989, San Francisco could have been a disaster much worse than the 1906 catastrophe, but it took the slip of the earth and kept going, although its character changed.

The staff of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper were there to witness the losses, the bravery, and the shock, with many photos ending up in this book. It is, in fact, what makes this book so good...photographs galore of the last great quake to rock the Bay Area. The magnificent Marina apartment houses are shown collapsed on themselves, the Bay Bridge's top deck displayed in its broken suddenness, the horrific crushing of life in West Oakland. Because the baseball World Series was being played at the moment of impact between the two local teams, the 1989 earthquake was the first to be broadcast live to a worldwide audience.

We live in Cali with the knowledge that there aren't any tornado sirens or hurricane alerts to forewarn us of The End. There is just the here-it-is rumbling of the earth and the knowledge in the back of our heads that we all live on or near a major fault line. If that explains why we are the way we are, so be it.

Book Season = Autumn (quake weather) ( )
  Gold_Gato | Sep 16, 2013 |
Haven't looked at this in 10 years or so. It's a nice (?) - or concise - photo retrospective of the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989 which hit San Francisco and Santa Cruz. I don't have anything else in my library on the topic and it is obviously not in wide circulation here on LT. Worth doing an interlibrary loan if you're doing some simple research and want some nice quotes and great grey-scale photography. ( )
  vesuvian | Oct 15, 2007 |
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