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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
3,6461072,592 (3.81)270
"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 270 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
An in-depth review of the volcanic explosion of Krakatoa. The book covered more than the eruption and its immediate effects, describing the pre-eruption history of Krakatoa, the science of volcanoes, plate tectonics, etc. There were times the author seemed to go into more detail than I needed, but that is a demonstration of the author’s thoroughness. His discussion of the eruption itself, its violence, its massive effects, were quite descriptive. And he completes the story in ways I didn't anticipate, such as how the study of this eruption at that time led to advances in weather prediction and forecasting, how the eruption was interpreted as a sign from Allah by radical Islamists of the era, and how fauna and flora developed on the brand new island formed after the eruption. Like other Simon Winchester books, this was well researched and insightful. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
If you like geology, volcanoes, history, science in general, and any combination of these, I bet you will enjoy this book. Connecting macro history/geology with daily careful tracing of the event as it enfolded in 1883, with colonial history, made this quite the interesting read for me. ( )
  WiebkeK | Jan 21, 2021 |
1.5 stars

Krakatoa is a volcano that erupted in 1883. I think it has erupted many(?) times since then.

Can’t tell much more about this, as I (unfortunately) listened to the audio. It was a male British voice (the author), so I recognized immediately that I was in trouble. I was bored. It didn’t hold my interest at all. It did seem to start with a lot of historical information about the area (Java, Sumatra). Beyond that, I think it took a long time to get to the volcano, but even then, I wasn’t really listening. For some reason, he went on about Islam at the end, though I’m unsure as to why. Despite listening to the entire thing, I’m having to read other summaries and reviews to find out what happened. ( )
  LibraryCin | Oct 18, 2020 |
A marvelous multi-disciplinary account of the science, history, and continuing impact of the 5th worst volcanic eruption ever recorded. Very informative and, for a book about a major international disaster, it is surprisingly hopeful. Winchester has written another winner! ( )
  dele2451 | Aug 8, 2020 |
Loved expanding my awareness of plate tectonics, the connections between past events and the world we live in today.
  Elizabeth80 | Jul 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (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, Simonprimary 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.
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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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"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.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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