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Earthquakes in Human History:
The Far-Reaching Effects of Seismic Disruptions
Jelle Zeilinga de Boer & Donald Theodore Sanders

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Chapter 1 [HTML] or [PDF format]


"Jelle Zelinga de Boer and Donald Theodore Sanders relate fascinating historical accounts illustrating how earthquakes have repeatedly served as catalysts for significant, long-term changes in social, political, military, religious, economic, and other conditions. . . . A major strength of [their] writing is their talent for clearly and succinctly delivering complex scientific theory to the lay reader. . . . de Boer's and Sanders' work helps ensure that disaster risk receives the attention it most certainly warrants."--Shawn Fenn, Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

"The book is well written, in a clear crisp style, without unnecessary jargon. The geological aspects are admirably well informed and accurate. . . . This is an admirable book. It is easily the most scholarly and well-informed discussion of the broader historical contexts of these earthquakes that I have read, and the geological accounts of what happened are well explained."--James Jackson, Geological Magazine

"I recommend it to any geophysicist interested in the human impact of earthquakes, and indeed, as a result of reading it I am keen to search out previous work by the authors which studies the sociological effects of volcanic eruptions."--John Brittan, Leading Edge

"The book is written with a vivid and easily digested narrative style that helps the amateur reader to assimilate a bit of basic geological knowledge. . . . [T]he geology-centered reader will better understand the far-reaching effects of earthquakes for different aspects of the history of civilization."--Marek Lewandowski, Pure and Applied Geophysics


"Earthquakes in Human History moves through the centuries and across the continents to show how earthquakes have shaped different societies. With a cast of characters that includes God and his ever-feared wrath, Cleopatra, Voltaire, Mark Twain, and the Sandinistas, it is an engaging and at times thrilling tale. I am confident that it will accomplish the authors' goal of nudging scientists to recognize the social and cultural impact of the geosciences and encouraging historians and others to explore scientific explanations for natural disasters."--Charles Walker, University of California, Davis

"Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders have provided us with evidence that natural phenomena, in this case earthquakes, can sometimes have long-term historical consequences in changing the fate of cultures. With examples ranging from biblical to modern times, they show how destructive earthquakes have interacted with wars, religious beliefs, and political movements in changing history. Each account is preceded by a generally accessible account of the geological processes that led to the fateful earthquake. A fascinating read and an antidote to the usual anthropocentric views of history such as that of Arnold Toynbee."--Christopher H. Scholz, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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