Friday, February 15, 2013


[July 2009] Simon Winchester has a talent for making a single event at the same time intimate and all encompassing, while imparting a good deal of scientific knowledge at the same time. In Krakatoa, he includes detailed history of the science behind the volcano (including the history of the scientists and the origin of plate tectonic theory.) He also provided the cultural and colonial history of Indonesia, thus providing a feel for the general environment in which the explosion occurred. And he filled in his personal tales, including scientific expeditions, embarrassing college blunders and a trip to Krakatoa. He even goes on to show how some loose threads connect the Volcano to aspects of militant Islam and decolonization.
The end result is an entertaining story that meanders around many aspects of the volcano that would not be in the 'encyclopedia entry', yet still have some degree of relevance to the story.
On the audiobook, the author narrates his own book in a pleasant manner that sound almost as if a friend is sharing a story of his learnings and adventures.

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