The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906

  • by Philip L. Fradkin
  • Narrated by Arthur Morey
  • 15 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The first indication of the prolonged terror that followed the 1906 earthquake occurred when a ship steaming off San Francisco's Golden Gate "seemed to jump clear out of the water". This gripping account of the earthquake, the devastating firestorms that followed, and the city's subsequent reconstruction vividly shows how, after the shaking stopped, humans, not the forces of nature, nearly destroyed San Francisco in a remarkable display of simple ineptitude and power politics. Bolstered by previously unpublished eyewitness accounts and photographs, this definitive history of a fascinating city caught in the grip of the country's greatest urban disaster will forever change conventional understanding of an event one historian called "the very epitome of bigness".
Philip Fradkin takes us onto the city's ruptured streets and into its exclusive clubs, teeming hospitals and refugee camps, and its Chinatown. He introduces the people - both famous and infamous - who experienced these events, such as Jack and Charmian London, Enrico Caruso, James Phelan, and Abraham Ruef. He traces the horrifying results of the mayor's illegal order to shoot-to-kill anyone suspected of a crime, and he uncovers the ugliness of racism that almost led to war with Japan. He reveals how an elite oligarchy failed to serve the needs of ordinary people, the heroic efforts of obscure citizens, the long-lasting psychological effects, and how all these events ushered in a period of unparalleled civic upheaval.
This compelling look at how people and institutions function in great catastrophes demonstrates just how deeply earthquake, fires, hurricanes, floods, wars, droughts, or acts of terrorism can shape us.

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Most Helpful

Chaos, Not the Earthquake, Destroyed San Francisco

This is the thrilling account of the 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco that literally set the whole town on fire. Author Philip Fradkin argues that most of the damage was done by ā€œpeople in chaos,ā€ not by the earthquake itself. This book uncovers all the things I didn't learn in 4th grade.

Told in a "you're there as it happens" narration, the stories of the depraved things people did to each other wouldn't seem out of place on AMC's The Walking Dead.
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- Susie "I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South.""

whoa! tons of info; amazingly detailed

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- J

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-08-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios