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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: October 2005 ISBN: 9780060894214
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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.” 

    Booklist

  • “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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 1/26/2014

    " I always enjoy Simon Winchester's books but this one didn't focus as much on the San Francisco earthquake as I would have expected from a 400 page book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ms. Risch | 1/21/2014

    " I abandoned this one. This is not a bad book if you are looking for a scientific treatise on the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and, well, earthquakes and plate tectonics in general. It was especially difficult to follow on audiobook in the car. (I changed lanes in a hurry to get to my exit and missed half of the Gaia theory!) It just wasn't what I wanted. I wanted a narrative popular history of the event with tidbits from diaries and newspapers. For that, I will need to look elsewhere. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laura | 1/20/2014

    " Audiobook - Ug. I stopped after only 6 minutes. After the first two minutes I said to myself, "Gee, I haven't been listening to this at all. I should pay attention." After four minutes I said, "Wow. I really can't pay attention to this. It's boring." After 5.8 minutes I said, "Just. Shut. UP." and took out the disc. Oh well. Win some, lose some. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug | 1/5/2014

    " Great book...the science is very well explained, the human stories are compelling, the history is really interesting "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 lesleymac | 1/4/2014

    " Disaster books are usually guaranteed to be 5 stars for me, but this was like getting punched in the face with geology. Yay science? but not what I signed up for. Still, really enjoyed it overall. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ariel | 12/23/2013

    " Fantastic non-fiction about the San Fran earthquake of 1906. Mostly explains the geology in very-readable language. Made me terrified to live in the city by the bay... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mellanee | 12/3/2013

    " I love this author and expected this book to be really good. It was pretty boring and I didn't learn as much as I had hoped. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alain | 11/24/2013

    " A good book, but not this authors best. I enjoyed it up to a point, but at some point it got a little tedious. Right up my line, I enjoy reading about science and the history of how some fragments of human knowledge came to be learned. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Autumn | 10/22/2013

    " Perhaps my favorite of Simon Winchesters (all of his books are worth reading) - likely because he spends so much time talking about California and the Bay Area. Will also give you a wide education on geology, history of Earthquake preparation, predictions, and disasters! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice | 7/30/2013

    " I was recently invited to join a book club. This is the book for our next (my first) meeting. It's a fascinating book. My husband is eager to read it after me as it is all about geology. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maya | 11/9/2012

    " I just couldn't get into this book. I'm not going to finish. I loved The Professor and the Madman and so thought I'd check this out but geology just doesn't grab me the same way I guess. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gena | 11/4/2012

    " Sounds like a local read but follows the fault across the globe...beware this can get technical -- it is well done and fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia Goldrick | 6/22/2012

    " Like everything by him that I've read - brilliant! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mamatoe | 5/21/2012

    " Excellent information on plate tectonics written in a very enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica Howard | 5/17/2012

    " I loved the second half of the book--which was more about the actual SF earthquake--the first half, which was just plate tectonics and genearal geology was a little dry... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karl | 3/28/2012

    " The book reads like a college course with a great professor. Putting together the disparate pieces of the story of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 in a fascinating way. If you know and love San Francisco, California, history or geology, you find something to like in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rochelle | 3/14/2012

    " Love Winchester's books for the social histories and obscure facts and connections he makes. The San Francisco earthquake seems to be only an excuse to write about about all things earthquake. Just as he did in Krakatoa. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim Horner McCoy | 8/2/2011

    " The geology explanations are the strong point of this book. The description of the actual quake is less compelling than I expected. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brianna | 6/22/2011

    " Winchester tends to be hit-and-miss for me. This one was surprisingly dull for a book about one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Horton | 5/8/2011

    " Winchester is a master of both the English language and the subjects he writes about. He's not always easy to understand, but he knoweth whereof he speaketh, and he speaketh well, of a truth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristi | 4/29/2011

    " Good non-fiction writer. His vocab is over my head at times, which I like. I thought I would find it slightly dull but I motored through it very quickly. He has over 20 other books so I will always have something to buy at the bookstore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katrina | 4/24/2011

    " For me this book was just too detailed, for everything he wanted to explain about the explosion he had to go off and explain about lots of other seemingly irrelevant things - for instance a species of bird, the exact messages sent by all the ships sailing close by that day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 4/21/2011

    " A very interesting and well written book covering the eruption of Krakatoa, the history of geology and many fascinating connections. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 4/19/2011

    " Like most of Winchester's work, it has lots of details and is interesting and readable.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johanna | 4/1/2011

    " Very interesting....but for such an amazing historical event it reads a bit like a bland historical account. I'm glad I read it for the knowledge gained but would have enjoyed it more from a better storyteller, I think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 3/27/2011

    " I think I'd give this a 3.5 rating. We listened to it as we drove to North Carolina and part of the way back, which is a pretty long trip. It was a pretty long book. It was a little more than I wanted to know about Krakatoa, but I'd still recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggiemaxfield | 3/22/2011

    " Phenomenal discourse on pretty much every world event that even remotely had to do with this volcanic eruption. A little ploddy in parts, but the information is SOOOO worth it. That's why I gave it all those stars. rock on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 3/19/2011

    " SO far so good! Good history of this geographic area, which I know nothing about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 3/13/2011

    " Really enjoyed his portrayal of the many facets of this one eruption, physical and human. A quick, understandable and really enjoyable read. "

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