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A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 4. Oktober 2005

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Gebundene Ausgabe, 4. Oktober 2005
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SO FAR AS THE ANCIENTS OF CHINA ARE CONCERNED, 1906 was a year of the Fire Horse-a time of grave unpredictability that comes along every six decades, and a time when all manner of strange events are inclined to occur. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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35 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good overall, great at times and somewhat of a ramble 31. Dezember 2006
Von Patrick D. Goonan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book by Simon Winchester has many good stories and contains as lot of useful information on earthquakes, geology and geography. It also contains a lot of good material that brings the period before, during and after the 1906 earthquake to life. However, this title also has a number of drawbacks that prevents it from being a great book.

Some of the issues for me were:

-- The title doesn't quite match the contents. The book is less focused than the title suggests.

-- I think more time should have been spent on deciding what to keep and what to cut. There is a lot of unnecessary detail and I wonder if the author forgot about the audience he had in mind as well as the main subject.

-- Sometimes the book is too rambling and the digressions are not interesting to many audiences, although extremely interesting to some. Should there have really been two even better books created from this material?

I'm not saying this book isn't worth reading. However, it's important to know what you are getting. If you want a concise and specific book on the SF earthquake alone, this is NOT it! If you want to know more about earthquakes in general and also understand more about the SF earthquake of 1906 then this might be great for you. In short, it is a more technical treatment than the title suggests and although it has a lot of good stories, they are not gathered into a cohesive well-organized whole.
36 von 37 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Another Tale of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 9. Oktober 2005
Von C. Hutton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Simon Winchester is a storyteller and he rambles around the tale of the great earthquake of a century ago. This is not the definitive account of the 1906 quake but the account of what Mr. Winchester found to be interesting -- fortunately it is interesting for the reader too.

The book is a wonderful geology book for the non-science reader as Mr. Winchester lays out why the quake occurred where it occurred (see the maps within) with vignettes with the fallout from the quake. He also makes clear that the next San Francisco earthquake is just down the road and we are no more prepared for that one either. The book cover itself is innovative and almost worth the price of the book. For the reader desiring a more traditional history of the 1906 quake, see Dan Kurzman's "Disaster: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906" (2001).
87 von 97 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The rough materials for a great book 9. Oktober 2005
Von Jay Dickson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Simon Winchester's love of learning and information is so incredibly infectious that even at his roughest his books do not fail to illuminate and interest. As with KRAKATOA, Winchester in A CRACK AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD takes a momentous geological event--in this case, the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906--and proceed to tell us as many stories leading up to and out of it as he possibly can, covering not merely accounts of the event itself (particularly the disastrous fires that came from it) but also ways of understanding the event within its multiple contexts. He tells us much about the commerical and social history of California as well as of the geology of the San Andreas Fault, Iceland, Missouri, Indonesia... s you can see, at times it _does_ get a little much. Winchester loves to amble through all these events at his own pace, but the result is a book that often reads as if it were hardly edited. His prose leaps about with weak transitions (along the lines of "As we have seen earlier," "And this brings us to Enrico Caruso," "And this is not the first time he shall appear in these pages, as we shall see," etc.) and seems as irruptive and eruptive as the events he chronicles; his intriguing and edifying narrative would have surely benefited from more studied editing and more careful organization. There's a wonderful book buried in here, but as with some of Winchester's earlier books this seems rushed and undigested.
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Worth a read; not his best stuff 10. Januar 2006
Von Peter Durfee - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I think this guy is one of the better nonfiction writers out there now. His "The Professor and the Madman" and "Krakatoa" and "The Map that Changed the World" are all fantastically entertaining and informative reads. "Crack," however, is his worst outing that I've read . . . It's a sprawling, chatty work that covers vast quantities of information in that peculiar voice that says "I'm really successful and can override my editors now."

The bad: There are really glaring factual errors (Alaska is a bit bigger than 600,000 acres). There are doubled-up currency markers like "$60 million dollars." These annoy the editor in me; someone should have caught them, and that nobody did underlines the lack of editorial care that has gone into the work as a whole. He intersperses his own road-trip memoirs far too liberally among the episodes detailing the 1906 earthquake that shook San Francisco to the ground.

The good: That said, the information he brings together is fascinating stuff. As a history of San Francisco (or of early California, really) this book, faults and all, is well worth the read. It was a wild city--the most important on the West Coast, until the aftermath of the quake sent business and population south to Los Angeles--and Winchester's work paints vivid pictures of the people and development trends that made it what it was.

I recommend this book, but I recommend that you read some of his other works too, to see what he's really capable of.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Maddeningly inconsistent: it's possible to love *and* hate it. 19. April 2006
Von Jessica L. Webster - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
High expectations were set for this work, when I heard Simon Winchester speak on the topic. If he was half as witty and erudite on the page as in person, the book was sure to be a hit.

It turns out he's not. The book is still a hit, though.

Winchester displays here a slooooowly meandering style: one keeps expecting him to come back around and address the point he seemed to be raising at the start of a chapter, then waits for him to get there in, say, the resulting arc which carries through the next several chapters, then hopes the next tangent might somehow find a way back toward the main thesis. This expectation is left unsatisfied. Instead the careful reader, when searching for a theme, finds instead diverse wildly flung declaratives, each contradicting the next and all generally based on (acknowledged, and highly suspect) hearsay. These interstitial outbursts are a big distraction from the chapter-long snippets of neat historiography, and the longer passages of what might have been neat historiography if he could maintain a style and voice.

While the florid biographical asides are often laugh-out-loud amusing, they are always written in a style that rings purple beside the dusty grey majority of the text. The facts are vital enough, the processes dynamic, and the events cataclysmic, yet his pace makes it boring. Novices will have a much better time with Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. So, for that matter, will experts.

I am baffled at every turn that this work is not more consistent, as it is based on secondary research. It seems he's cobbled together opinions as he went along, then stacked it all together in a stream-of-lectureness fashion and forgot to skim the text to make sure the pieces matched. That his statements are inflammatory and in flagrant disregard of *the very facts presented* makes them all the more irritating.

In a speech "honoring" the anniversary of the quake (and taken direclty from the book) Winchester ridiculed San Franciscans for bothering to exist. His words are Hastert-esque, especially in the context of hyper-cross-promoting of his upcoming documentary film. One wonders what Chrissie Martinstein would say, if they were to meet at Lotta's Fountain. One hopes that Mr. Winchester would withhold half-cocked opinions of the fact of her survival and consequent century of thriving - or else that he wears a protective cup.
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