Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

On this day in 1906, at 5:12 in the morning, a giant earthquake struck San Francisco, followed by massive fires. Today's list has books about the 1906 earthquake, other major (real) earthquakes, and dystopias caused (at least partially) by earthquakes.


Earth Shook, The Sky Burned - A Moving Record Of America's Great Earthquake And Fire - San Francisco, April 18, 1906 by William Bronson. Sadly out of print, this is a book well worth tracking down. This is a beautiful and moving photographic chronicle of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Published for adults, I spent countless hours pouring over this as a teen.

After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire by Michael Lundgren and Mark Klett. This amazing photographic record takes forty-five historic and famous photographs from the ruins after the earthquake and pairs them with a photograph of the same location, a century later to show how the city has rebuilt, changed, and grown.

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester. Winchester is known for taking large topics and covering them in great detail, but in an entertaining and very readable and accessible fashion. In this one, he covers the quake, the fire, and its effect not just on the city and California, but the country and the world.


In Darkness by Nick Lake. Shorty is trapped by rubble after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. With no food or water, and rescue being slow in coming, he's unsure if he will survive. In weakened delirium, he sees Haitian independance leader Touissant l’Ouverture, and tries to make sense of the life that's led him to this point.

My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Anderson. Luke and his younger brother, Bunna and Isaac leave their Inupiaq village to go to Sacred Heart boarding school. Told in multiple voices of the brothers and some of the other students we see four years of life in the school, including the 1964 earthquake in Prince William Sound and resulting tsunami.

Gardens of Water by Alan Drew. A love story between a Kurdish Muslim girl and the son of American Christian missionary would be hard enough, but after the 1999 earthquake kills family and friends and destroys Istanbul, its that much harder and more complicated.


The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze. There were 17 Days of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions. Everything changed and the queen was poisoned. Princess Elizabeth and her family still live in relative luxury while her father tries to guide the country. But the same brutal rebels who killed her mother are gunning for the rest of Elizabeth's family, unless she can stop them.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. After a meteor hits the moon, it's knocked closer to earth, causing tidal wave tides, continuous volcanic eruptions, and numerous earthquakes. Miranda and her family must try to survive the Arctic winter and widespread shortages. Follow it with The Dead and the Gone.

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts. Huge earthquakes have occurred, causing massive destruction. But beyond the physical damage, an ancient evil has been unleashed from the Earth. Four teens survive when their loved ones don't, but continued survival is a daily and constant struggle.

What are your earthquake must reads?

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