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Download A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906, by Simon Winchester Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,513 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Simon Winchester Narrator: Simon Winchester Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The international bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and Krakatoa vividly brings to life the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake that leveled a city symbolic of America's relentless western expansion. Simon Winchester has also fashioned an enthralling and informative look at the tumultuous subterranean world that produces earthquakes, the planet's most sudden and destructive force.

In the early morning hours of April 18, 1906, San Francisco and a string of other towns were overcome by an earthquake registering 8.25 on the Richter scale, resulting from a rupture in the San Andreas fault. Lasting little more than a minute, the earthquake wrecked 490 blocks, toppled a total of 25,000 buildings, broke open gas mains, cut off electric power lines, and effectively destroyed the gold rush capital that had stood there for a half century.

Winchester brings his inimitable storytelling abilities -- as well as his unique understanding of geology -- to this extraordinary event, exploring not only what happened in northern California in 1906 but what we have learned since about the geological underpinnings that caused the earthquake in the first place. A Crack in the Edge of the World is the definitive account of the San Francisco earthquake and a fascinating exploration of a legendary event that changed the way we look at the planet on which we live.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In this brawny page-turner, bestselling writer Winchester has crafted a magnificent testament to the power of planet Earth and the efforts of humankind to understand her…With fabulous style, wit and grace, Winchester casts doubt on the very notion of solid ground and invites the reader to ponder the planet they live on, from both inside and out.” 

    Publisher Weekly (starred review)

  • “What Winchester did for the 1883 cataclysmic eruption of a South Pacific volcano in Krakatoa, he now does for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake—that is, making a significant geological incident understandable and even exciting to the lay reader not only in its scientific terms but also within a broad historical, political, and social context.” 


  • “Filled with eyewitness accounts, vivid descriptions, crisp prose, and many delightful meanderings, A Crack in the Edge of the World is a thoroughly absorbing tale.” 

    Library Journal

  • “Winchester is an engaging tour guide, and his tale a humbling one. Humankind exists, he concludes, by ‘the planet’s consent.’” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Audie Award Finalist
  • New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Nerdymko | 2/7/2014

    " The epilogue is the best part of the book. Alaskans, this man tells it like it is, something that is done too infrequently in books that may mention Alaska in passing. I won't say anymore, but we can all relate. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lana | 2/6/2014

    " Serendipitous that I put down Assembling California and picked up A Crack in the Edge of the World. Some of the same ground (no pun intended), but soo much better and accessible. Simon Winchester always does it right. Some of the most riveting nonfiction I've read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Alison | 1/30/2014

    " I only made it through half of this book. I was expecting it to be more like the other Simon Winchester book about the history of the dictionary. Instead to build up to what happened during the earthquake he literally does a history of the entire universe and how it was formed and plate tectonics and just a little too much extremely complicated science for my liking. I might go pack and finish it because it had promise but I had more interesting books come in to the library so for now this will have to wait. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Judy | 1/28/2014

    " The story of the 8.25 magnitude earthquake that struck San Francisco on april 18, 1906 with its resultant fire. As fascinating as the description of the earthquake and fire were (and by the way, they only hit the scene about a third of the way into the book), equally fascinating was the author's explanation of the subterranean activity that produced this earthquake and is certain to produce another of equal magniture in the future. There was also some scary information about Yellowstone National Park blowing up and killing all of us. But that's another story for another day. "

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