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Download The Last Day: Wrath, Ruin, and Reason in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Last Day: Wrath, Ruin, and Reason in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, by Nicholas Shrady, Patrick Lawlor Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (55 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nicholas Shrady, Patrick Lawlor Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A riveting history of how the cataclysmic Lisbon earthquake shook the religious and intellectual foundations of Enlightenment Europe.

Along with the volcanic destruction of Pompeii and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Lisbon quake of 1755 is one of the most destructive natural disasters ever recorded. After being jolted by a massive quake, Lisbon was then pounded by a succession of tidal waves and finally reduced to ash by a fire that raged for five straight days.

In The Last Day, Nicholas Shrady provides not only a vivid account of this horrific disaster but also a stimulating survey of the many shock waves it sent throughout Western civilization. When news of the quake spread, it inspired both a lurid fascination in the popular imagination of Europe and an intellectual debate about the natural world and God’s place in human affairs. Voltaire, Alexander Pope, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, among other eminent figures, took up the disaster as a sort of cause célèbre and a vehicle to express Enlightenment ideas. More practically, the Lisbon quake led to the first concerted effort at disaster control, modern urban planning, and the birth of seismology. The Last Day is popular history writing at its best and will appeal to readers of Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa and A Crack in the Edge of the World.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Eric | 2/1/2013

    " It's an easy read about an interesting and often forgotten about disaster that influence modern Europe, literature, intellectualism, and earthquake science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tom Darrow | 11/29/2011

    " Disorganized and weakly argued. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by David | 9/26/2010

    " Especially interesting to read this in the wake of the recent earthquake and tsunami. Here we have an example of the first modern government response to large scale devastation. As the author notes, the Bush administration could have used the Marques de Pombal to handle Katrina. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by kenpen | 7/23/2009

    " Could have benefited from more maps. There were two, but too small to read. There was lots of discussion about different places (where the King was when the earthquake hit, other cities in Portugal, etc), but since there weren't maps it was hard to have a reference point. "

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About the Author

Nicholas Shrady is a journalist whose articles have appeared in Architectural Digest, Travel & Leisure, Forbes, the New York Times Book Review, and Town & Country. His previous books include Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa and Sacred Roads: Adventures from the Pilgrimage Trail.