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1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance

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On the Same Page: All San Francisco Reads

San Francisco Public Library

The April selection for the "On the Same Page: All San Francisco Reads" monthly book club is "A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906," by Simon Winchester.

Winchesterís latest work could not be timelier. Published in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, the book arrives just in time for the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Beginning with a lengthy discussion of the geological theories and forces at the heart of the monumental 1906 disaster and then shifting from a scientific study to a sociopolitical and historical exploration of the ramifications of the earthquake, this is something of a travel book as well. A prolific travel writer, Winchester gives his book a sweeping scope as he crosses from Iceland to the San Andreas Fault, along the North Atlantic plate, the rock formation which supports the continental United States, Canada and Alaska. He colorfully presents the history of San Francisco including Gold Rush days, the Barbary Coast period and, of course, the 1906 earthquake and fire. Historical figures are brought to life, such as Army chief, Brigadier General, Frederick Funston, tenor Enrico Caruso, actor John Barrymore and photographer Ansel Adams (age four at the time). The repercussions of that tragic April day are still being felt today, according to the author.

For "On the Same Page," the Library has purchased the 2005 hardback edition of "A Crack in the Edge of the World," published by HarperCollins. It is also available at the Library as an unabridged talking book in CD and audiocassette formats.

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April 2006 monthly book club selection


Check out a copy at your local San Francisco Public Library branch.


General public


Sherri Eng, 415-557-4282

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