This book, subtitled ‘The far-reaching effects of seismic disruptions’, is a collaboration between a Professor of Earth Science at Wesleyan University (de Boer) and a science writer (Sanders). It arises from a lecture course by de Boer that attempts to convince liberal-arts undergraduates that “the sciences are not ‘bloodless’ – that, in the earth sciences in particular, something akin to the ‘breath of living man’ can be seen in phenomena such as volcanic eruptions [the topic of a previous collaborative book from these authors] and earthquakes”. The way they do this is by discussing how particular historical earthquakes have affected...

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