The Great Quake
In the tradition of Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm, a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in recorded history in North America--the 1964 Alaskan earthquake that demolished the city of Valdez and obliterated the coastal village of Chenega--and the scientist sent to look for geological clues to explain the dynamics of earthquakes, who helped to confirm the then controversial theory of plate tectonics. On March 27, 1964, at 5:36 p.m., the biggest earthquake ever recorded in North America--and the second biggest ever in the world, measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale--struck Alaska, devastating coastal towns and villages and killing more than 130 people in what was then a relatively sparsely populated region. In a riveting tale about the almost unimaginable brute force of nature, New York Times science journalist Henry Fountain, in his first trade book, re-creates the lives of the villagers and townspeople living in Chenega, Anchorage, and Valdez; describes the sheer beauty of the geology of the region, with its towering peaks and 20-mile-long glaciers; and reveals the impact of the quake on the towns, the buildings, and the lives of the inhabitants. George Plafker, a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey with years of experience scouring the Alaskan wilderness, is asked to investigate the Prince William Sound region in the aftermath of the quake, to better understand its origins. His work confirmed the then controversial theory of plate tectonics that explained how and why such deadly quakes occur, and how we can plan for the next one.

The Great Quake Details

TitleThe Great Quake
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseAug 8th, 2017
PublisherCrown Publishing Group (NY)
ISBN1101904062
ISBN-139781101904060
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Science, Environment, Nature, Historical, North American Hi..., American History

The Great Quake Review

  • Montzalee Wittmann
    June 6, 2017
    The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain is a wonderful history and science book that I enjoyed thoroughly. Two subjects I love and earthquakes are exciting and scary at the same time. It was interesting to find out about what life was like in Alaska before the quakes and after the big quake. Individual stories and an overall view of society prior, during, and after. A lot of wonderful information in a way that did no The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain is a wonderful history and science book that I enjoyed thoroughly. Two subjects I love and earthquakes are exciting and scary at the same time. It was interesting to find out about what life was like in Alaska before the quakes and after the big quake. Individual stories and an overall view of society prior, during, and after. A lot of wonderful information in a way that did not focus on a political point but on a personal view, even from the history of it. Very interesting.
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  • Michael
    June 11, 2017
    I received this book through a Good Reads "First Reads" Give-away. A very entertaining read, Fountain covers not just the earthquake that struck Alaska on March 27, 1964, but also explores the evolution of the theory of plate tectonics and the history of several of the communities (e.g., Anchorage, Valdez, and particularly the small village of Chenega) hardest hit by the devastating quake and/or the resulting tsunamis. The author is equally adept at capturing the terror and destruction of the di I received this book through a Good Reads "First Reads" Give-away. A very entertaining read, Fountain covers not just the earthquake that struck Alaska on March 27, 1964, but also explores the evolution of the theory of plate tectonics and the history of several of the communities (e.g., Anchorage, Valdez, and particularly the small village of Chenega) hardest hit by the devastating quake and/or the resulting tsunamis. The author is equally adept at capturing the terror and destruction of the disaster itself and explaining how scientists' understanding of the underlying causes of earthquakes evolved (and how the 1964 quake contributed to that understanding). I received an uncorrected proof and assume the print version will have pictures whereas the proof did not - I did find some photos that were taken of Anchorage after the quake and it further put the magnitude of this disaster in perspective, they are quite unnerving.
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  • Nancy
    July 23, 2017
    When I was growing up in the early 1960s my grandfather was corresponding with Maurice Ewing and William Donn of the Lamont Geological Observatory. Gramps had been interested in their work since 1958 when he read a Harper's Magazine article by Betty Friedan called The Coming Ice Age about their research.I didn't know that Project Moho, drilling cores in the deep sea, how to stop the next Ice Age, and Plate Tectonics was not normal dinner table talk. Gramps even got his old college buddy Roger Bl When I was growing up in the early 1960s my grandfather was corresponding with Maurice Ewing and William Donn of the Lamont Geological Observatory. Gramps had been interested in their work since 1958 when he read a Harper's Magazine article by Betty Friedan called The Coming Ice Age about their research.I didn't know that Project Moho, drilling cores in the deep sea, how to stop the next Ice Age, and Plate Tectonics was not normal dinner table talk. Gramps even got his old college buddy Roger Blough, then president of U. S. Steel, to kick in some funding for their research.Before 1971 when I took Historical Geology in college I had no idea that Plate Tectonics was a 'new' theory. I'd grown up with it.I requested The Great Quake:How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain from First to Read because I like geology and enjoy reading about Alaska. I was excited to learn it was about the very research that proved Plate Tectonics.Fountain introduces us to the people of several small Alaskan villages along the coast, recounting their history and way of life. The families have Russian last names, a legacy when Russia turned the native population into virtual slaves. They live on a subsistence level, their traditional hunting and fishing impacted by factory fishing.In 1964, on Good Friday, a 9.8 earthquake wrecked havoc and destroyed the villages, claiming the lives of 130 people. It is devastating to read about the tsunamis that wiped the land clean not only of people and houses but trees and the loose rocky layer on the shore.Geologist George Plafker was very familiar with the area. The day after the quake he flew over the area. His observations led to proving the controversial theory of Plate Tectonics that even Maurice Ewing did not yet subscribe to!The book reads like popular disaster books such as Dead Wake by Eric Larson, setting up the people and history, recreating the horror of the disaster, and then cogently explaining how Plafker's research impacted the scientific community. Readers can expect to learn Alaskan history and geography, be moved by the horror of the destruction, and brought to understand this planet we live on.I received a free ebook through First to Read in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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  • Suzze Tiernan
    July 18, 2017
    Thanks to Crown and Edelweiss for the advance copy. I was somewhat familiar with the 1964 Alaskan quake, as a friend lived through it, but it was interesting to hear more of the geology and geophysics behind it. Rather technical in parts, but worth the read.
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  • Literary Chic
    July 16, 2017
    Other than required earth science books in school, I have never read anything related to geology. I've never found earthquakes particularly fascinating so I'm not sure why I signed up for this book's Goodreads Giveaway. However, I was pleasantly surprised with a great book on the biggest earthquake in North America.Mr. Fountain wrote in a narrative style. It was engaging and easily followed. I'm not a scientific thinker, so I appreciated that his technical writing was straightforward and easily Other than required earth science books in school, I have never read anything related to geology. I've never found earthquakes particularly fascinating so I'm not sure why I signed up for this book's Goodreads Giveaway. However, I was pleasantly surprised with a great book on the biggest earthquake in North America.Mr. Fountain wrote in a narrative style. It was engaging and easily followed. I'm not a scientific thinker, so I appreciated that his technical writing was straightforward and easily followed.My only dislike was the excessive supporting cast. For a book that wasn't even 250 pages, the author spent the first 100 pages introducing additional townspeople. It was a bit excessive in my opinion but still a great book.Overall, a very good read and I'm sure it will be a successful publication. Thanks Goodreads and Crown Publishing!
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  • Courtney Judy
    June 5, 2017
    I picked this up to read because of my intense (and many times irrational) fear of earthquakes -- figuring this might help ease some of my terror by providing some scientific background and explanation of earthquakes. While it was a great read, and I was absolutely fascinated by everything I read, it did nothing to help quell my fear. If anything, I am more concerned for friends and family on the west coast than I was before I started reading the book. My personal feelings and fears aside, the b I picked this up to read because of my intense (and many times irrational) fear of earthquakes -- figuring this might help ease some of my terror by providing some scientific background and explanation of earthquakes. While it was a great read, and I was absolutely fascinated by everything I read, it did nothing to help quell my fear. If anything, I am more concerned for friends and family on the west coast than I was before I started reading the book. My personal feelings and fears aside, the book was a great read. The author did a great job of providing science background stuff related to rocks/earthquakes/the acorn barnacle/tides/ocean floor/etc without getting too 'sciency'. Aka, I didn't need a degree is some kind of 'ology' to understand what he was writing. It was an astounding story of a HUGE earthquake that had devastating effects on Alaska as well additional west coast states. Many times I said out-loud "no way...that's real?!" and went on a quick research mission to learn more about the events discussed in the book. The stories of the survivors from the quake left me feeling completely engrossed in their stories and their experiences, and brought what happened in Indonesia in 2004 back to the forefront of my brain. A book I truly couldn't put down, and one I would recommend to anyone that enjoyed non-fiction.
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  • David
    July 9, 2017
    A fine book, well-written, with interesting characters and human drama. This might be a good present for teenaged aspiring scientists, but only if the scientist's parents don't mind you putting ideas into their heads about heading out to remote areas of the world which, even today, may not have a cell phone signal but may have terrifying earthquakes at any moment. And bears. But I also felt that the book was a bit of a tease, promising a conflict that it didn't deliver. Specifically, I felt led A fine book, well-written, with interesting characters and human drama. This might be a good present for teenaged aspiring scientists, but only if the scientist's parents don't mind you putting ideas into their heads about heading out to remote areas of the world which, even today, may not have a cell phone signal but may have terrifying earthquakes at any moment. And bears. But I also felt that the book was a bit of a tease, promising a conflict that it didn't deliver. Specifically, I felt led to believe that the author would tell us the real-life story of a plucky scientific outsider (George Plafker) who took on a hide-bound establishment to champion a theory (continental drift) which is accepted as truth today but was previously viewed as incorrect, perhaps even ludicrously silly. That's not what happens. By the time Plafker comes along, he's pushing on an open door. Although there were still “stabilists” in the irony towers of science prior to the Alaska earthquake, Plafker's work of a lifetime (which seems considerable and impressive) did not spark a revolutionary change of scientific framework as much as drive the long-awaited final coffin nails into the stabilist theory.I have a lot of respect for non-fiction writers who write of events, like this one, that happen 50-60 years previously. At that particular distance in time, it is likely the last time that some witnesses will be around to be recorded and described, and to return to the place where the most dramatic events of their lives took place. Writers like this are preserving something genuinely precious about our experience. I hope that whatever notes and recordings were made for this book find their way into the corner of some university library.I received uncorrected electronic galley copy of this book free of charge for review. Thanks to Penguin Random House and Netgalley for the free stuff.
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  • Cherei
    April 6, 2017
    A high octane read! One that will have you rockin' and a rollin!Must read for all interested in earthquakes and geology! I was expecting to read about several eye-witness accounts of the great Alaskan earthquake on Good Friday, 1964. Much to my delight and surprise, the book is chockful of scientific theories and eventual acceptance of those theories. I learned so much! Chenega had a population of around 100 folks. Thank goodness, they did not have more. To have the ground shake in the manner th A high octane read! One that will have you rockin' and a rollin!Must read for all interested in earthquakes and geology! I was expecting to read about several eye-witness accounts of the great Alaskan earthquake on Good Friday, 1964. Much to my delight and surprise, the book is chockful of scientific theories and eventual acceptance of those theories. I learned so much! Chenega had a population of around 100 folks. Thank goodness, they did not have more. To have the ground shake in the manner that it did.. for a full five minutes. Holy mackerelly! Second largest quake in modern times. Still! It tells the human side of the story as well. The story of the one room school teacher to those on a ship.. docked and unloading.. Most of the stories are from those that lived in the little village of Chenega. Many other stories are told as well.. Those that lived in Anchorage.. to the many coastal areas all over the world that were hit with tsunami waves brought about by the Great Quake. This story was a must read for me. My Uncle, Aunt and cousins lived in Anchorage when the Great Quake hit. As they were young.. and going from one Adrenalin rush to another that day.. I just wanted to read other's accounts to find out if the events were as they remembered it. Now, I see.. how much they were shielded from learning by the elders. My cousins were little fellows at the time. They were lucky to not have been as deeply impacted mentally and physically as so many others were during the quake and multiple tsunamis that hit that day, in March of 1964.
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  • Steve
    July 3, 2017
    I received an ARC from the publisher for a fair and balanced review.On March 27, 1964 an Earthquake, measuring 9.4 on the Richter scale, struck Alaska. The Great Quake tells the story of that event. Weaved into the book is an excellent narrative history of geology,geophysics, Alaskan History and biography of individuals who experienced the quake. Writer Henry Fountain does a very good job of taking us through the events leading up to, during and after the earthquake. The ARC indicates that photo I received an ARC from the publisher for a fair and balanced review.On March 27, 1964 an Earthquake, measuring 9.4 on the Richter scale, struck Alaska. The Great Quake tells the story of that event. Weaved into the book is an excellent narrative history of geology,geophysics, Alaskan History and biography of individuals who experienced the quake. Writer Henry Fountain does a very good job of taking us through the events leading up to, during and after the earthquake. The ARC indicates that photos will be included. There are two excellent maps of the regions effected by the quake. Fountain also has included good footnotes and ideas for further reading on the subjects mentioned in the book. An excellent book for arm-chair geologists, travelers, and explorers.
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  • Emily
    June 8, 2017
    Ostensibly about the 1964 Alaskan earthquake (Good Friday earthquake) and its repercussions on the earth sciences, this book accomplishes a lot more than that in its <300 pages. It includes a brief history of Alaska; a brief history of (and a quick primer in) geology and related earth sciences, particularly as relate to plate tectonics; a look at some historical earthquakes and related events; and even a tiny bit of marine biology for good measure. The history and science are woven together a Ostensibly about the 1964 Alaskan earthquake (Good Friday earthquake) and its repercussions on the earth sciences, this book accomplishes a lot more than that in its <300 pages. It includes a brief history of Alaska; a brief history of (and a quick primer in) geology and related earth sciences, particularly as relate to plate tectonics; a look at some historical earthquakes and related events; and even a tiny bit of marine biology for good measure. The history and science are woven together and interspersed with human experience. We get to know some of the geologists and geophysicists, particularly George Plafker, who travels to Alaska a few days post-earthquake and witnesses the destruction and considers the geology. We get to know the people of Alaska, particularly those living in Chenega and Valdez in 1964, and some of their daily routines and culture. At its climax the book takes us painstakingly and page-turningly through the actual earthquake and subsequent tsunamis, then continues tying the threads together by looking at the aftermath of the earthquake for the people and for science. This book is full of terrifying facts about the forces of the earth in general and the destruction of this earthquake in particular. And while I enjoy some good terrifying earth facts (enough removed from the human consequences), I greatly appreciated that the author rounded out this book with stories of how people survive and carry on and sometimes even learn things that change the lens through which we see the world.(Thank you Crown Publishing and Goodreads for the advance copy.)
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  • Haris Mohammad
    May 31, 2017
    "The Great Quake'' goes into detail on how one of North America's most awful contemporary natural disasters which in turn makes a alluring acumen. Henry Fountain provides a captivating story of destruction, courage, and, most importantly, revelation.
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  • Sarah Anne Carter
    April 25, 2017
    “Of the thousands upon thousands of earthquakes that happen around the world every year – from imperceptible tremors to powerful shakers like the one that hit Lituya Bay – roughly one in sixteen occurs in Alaska. That makes the state one of the most quake-intensive places on the planet.”On March 27, 1964, an earthquake rattled Alaska for five minutes. The 9.2 magnitude earthquake killed 139 people and literally changed the landscape of much of the state. However, it also changed the scientific c “Of the thousands upon thousands of earthquakes that happen around the world every year – from imperceptible tremors to powerful shakers like the one that hit Lituya Bay – roughly one in sixteen occurs in Alaska. That makes the state one of the most quake-intensive places on the planet.”On March 27, 1964, an earthquake rattled Alaska for five minutes. The 9.2 magnitude earthquake killed 139 people and literally changed the landscape of much of the state. However, it also changed the scientific community by finally proving that tectonic plates and not just faults can cause earthquakes.I lived in Alaska for three years as an adult. The Good Friday earthquake is something you learn about shortly after moving to the state. Then you make sure you have earthquake insurance. I only felt one big earthquake when I was there and it was a scary event for my family even though it lasted mere seconds. I received an advanced copy of this book after attending a Penguin Random House webinar about upcoming releases and commenting that it sounded interesting.Until I read this book, I did not know that it wasn’t set in the scientific world on how earthquakes happened until the 1970s. The Good Friday earthquake and an earthquake in Chile (magnitude 9.4-9.6 on May 22, 1960) finally proved that there were shifting continental plates and that when they moved, the earth would shake. Before that, it was thought that faults in the earth caused earthquakes. The book is split between explaining the scientific developments and telling the story of the Alaskan earthquake from the perspective of people who lived there and experienced it. The chapters about the day of the earthquake and its after-effects were captivating. It is amazing that the number of people who died is so low. One account is from a schoolteacher who managed to survive because the schoolhouse where she taught and lived was just above where the water reached after the earthquake. It stopped when it reached the schoolhouse basement. The water did more damage and killed more people than the initial earthquake.If you enjoy history and have any fascination with earthquakes or Alaska, you would enjoy this book. It is well written and gives history and scientific facts without being dry. Be prepared to tell people close to you, “Did you know …” if you do read this book. It is full of interesting details and facts.Read more here: http://sarahannecarter.com/the-great-...
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  • Skjam!
    June 10, 2017
    Disclaimer: I received this uncorrected proof through a Goodreads Giveaway to facilitate this review. No other compensation was offered or requested. As an uncorrected proof, many changes will be made in the final product, due out August 2017, including an index and bibliography, and possibly more illustrations.March 27, 1964, Good Friday by the Catholic calendar, was the date of the largest earthquake in North American history, magnitude 9.2 on the revised Richter scale. Loss of life was limite Disclaimer: I received this uncorrected proof through a Goodreads Giveaway to facilitate this review. No other compensation was offered or requested. As an uncorrected proof, many changes will be made in the final product, due out August 2017, including an index and bibliography, and possibly more illustrations.March 27, 1964, Good Friday by the Catholic calendar, was the date of the largest earthquake in North American history, magnitude 9.2 on the revised Richter scale. Loss of life was limited due to Alaska’s sparse population at the time, but property damage in the city of Anchorage was severe, and the town of Valdez and Native Alaskan village of Chenega were devastated, requiring the entire communities to move elsewhere.This book is a detailed examination of that earthquake, with a special focus on George Plafker, a geologist whose research in the aftermath led him to produce evidence for the plate tectonics theory of geophysics.The opening chapter deals with Mr. Plafker and his colleagues from the U.S. Geological Survey being recalled early to Alaska to assess the damage after the quake. The military was glad to see them, as not only were communications and transportation disrupted, but the network of early warning systems protecting America from nuclear attack was at risk.Then there are a series of backstory chapters about the communities that were affected and their inhabitants, Mr. Plafker’s decision to become a geologist and early career, and the science of earthquakes and continental drift theory.This is followed by chapters on the earthquake itself, taken primarily from eyewitness accounts. Then back to the aftermath, rescue measures, reconstruction and the scientific examination of the evidence. Considerable space is devoted to Mr. Plafker’s analysis of the geology, and the formulation of his hypothesis as to the cause.There’s a chapter on the acceptance of this idea and the advancement of plate tectonics, then an epilogue that details where everyone still alive ended up. The end notes are good, with some extra detail.The writing is okay, and the events of the earthquake are exciting and horrifying, but I didn’t find the style compelling. (Keep in mind, again, that this is an uncorrected proof; the author may be able to punch it up a bit.) It should be suitable for high school students on up.Primarily recommended for those interested in Alaskan history, geophysics buffs and those who like to read about earthquakes.
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  • Lauren
    July 29, 2017
    On March 27, 1964 a massive earthquake struck south central Alaska, causing widespread devastation, decimating the villages of Chenega and Valdez, and the area around the epicenter and killing people as far away as California. Two days later, George Plafker, a field geologist with the USGS, arrived to survey the area and find out all he could about what caused the earthquake. What he discovered would help to prove and name the theory of plate tectonics and shape our understanding of faults, eart On March 27, 1964 a massive earthquake struck south central Alaska, causing widespread devastation, decimating the villages of Chenega and Valdez, and the area around the epicenter and killing people as far away as California. Two days later, George Plafker, a field geologist with the USGS, arrived to survey the area and find out all he could about what caused the earthquake. What he discovered would help to prove and name the theory of plate tectonics and shape our understanding of faults, earthquakes, and our planet. Henry Fountain pays respectful tribute to the victims and survivors of this earthquake while also conveying the magnitude of Plafker's accomplishments and the geology and seismology behind the earthquake. This book does a really good job of balancing the human interest side of the earthquake with the science behind it. You get the stories of the people and towns directly impacted by the devastation of the earthquake and resulting tsunamis, while also getting an education in seismology, in language easily understandable by non-geologists. It is not just a human interest story, or just a science book. It is both and I think that really contributes to its success. I highly enjoyed reading and being enlightened by this book. I read this book through Penguin's First to Read program and I actually accidentally clicked the "guarantee my copy" button instead of the "request a copy" button, but I'm glad I did because I probably wouldn't have won a copy since it's not my typical book and I probably wouldn't have thought to pick it up otherwise. It was a very engaging and educating and compulsively readable book and I would recommend it to anyone who is even remotely curious about earthquakes.
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  • Alicia
    July 16, 2017
    I was intrigued by the blurb of this book-- I enjoy history and science, so this sounded like a great read. Going in I knew absolutely nothing about the 1964 Alaska quake, or its importance to science. The writing was vivid and gripping. Fountain gives you a brief taste of the aftermath of the quake, and then introduces you to the region, its people, and some of the science behind plate tectonics. Throughout the narrative, you feel as if you are there, experiencing the build-up and the quake alo I was intrigued by the blurb of this book-- I enjoy history and science, so this sounded like a great read. Going in I knew absolutely nothing about the 1964 Alaska quake, or its importance to science. The writing was vivid and gripping. Fountain gives you a brief taste of the aftermath of the quake, and then introduces you to the region, its people, and some of the science behind plate tectonics. Throughout the narrative, you feel as if you are there, experiencing the build-up and the quake along with the Valdez residents and Chenega villagers. I had trouble putting this one down, because I wanted to know what would happen next-- Did everyone make it out okay? How were people rebuilding? What's the area like now? Fountain goes into detail on a number of applicable scientific theories, and it is written in a way that is not too convoluted for a lay person, but does not feel overly "dumbed down." I had no idea that Alaska was such a hotbed for earthquakes. I learned so much reading this book, but I did not feel as if the information was forced or there was too much to take in; there was a good balance providing information (whether on geology, the people, earthquakes, plate tectonics, etc.) and of giving first-hand accounts of what it was like before, during, and after the 1964 Good Friday quake. Definitely recommend-- it's a great look at the importance and impact of field work in the scientific field.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    July 26, 2017
    I received a free Kindle copy of The Great Quake by Henry Fountain courtesy of Net Galley and Crown Publishing, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I am have an avid interest in earth science and plate tectonics. This is the first book about the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 that I ha I received a free Kindle copy of The Great Quake by Henry Fountain courtesy of Net Galley and Crown Publishing, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I am have an avid interest in earth science and plate tectonics. This is the first book about the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 that I have read. It is the first book by Henry Fountain that I have read.I found this to be a very interesting book. It is well researched and well written. The first half of the book lays the groundwork for the earthquake with a discussion of the history of continental drift and plate tectonics and the small villages along the coast of Alaska that were severely damaged or in some cases wiped out by the tsunami that followed.The second half of the book deals with the events that took place and the aftermath. The focus is on a few villages and individuals. The author does a very good job of bringing the human tragedy into the events that took place. Families and whole villages uprooted, decimated by loss and then eventually recovering.I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in plate tectonics, earthquakes and Alaska.
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  • Carol Palmer
    July 20, 2017
    On March 27, 1964, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake hit southern Alaska. It lasted for 5 minutes and drastically changed the landscape. The Good Friday quake took over a hundred lives and caused millions of dollars in damages. The description of the quake while it happened is more exciting and riveting than anything Hollywood could produce as it was taken from the recollections of the people who lived through it.But, the Good Friday quake did more than damage, it changed the way earthquakes and furthe On March 27, 1964, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake hit southern Alaska. It lasted for 5 minutes and drastically changed the landscape. The Good Friday quake took over a hundred lives and caused millions of dollars in damages. The description of the quake while it happened is more exciting and riveting than anything Hollywood could produce as it was taken from the recollections of the people who lived through it.But, the Good Friday quake did more than damage, it changed the way earthquakes and furthered the theory of plate tectonics. This was mainly due to the work of George Plafker.George Plafker was a field geologist who was sent by the National Geological Survey to record the geological changes that had happened as a result of the quake. While others were sitting in offices looking at data theorizing the cause of the quake, George looked his own observations plus the data and developed the most conclusive theory on the source and cause of the quake.Overall, I enjoyed the book although there were some background sections that could have been cut.This was an advance copy from the Penguin First to Read program, and I hope the final copy has pictures of areas the text describes.
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  • Jacob
    June 22, 2017
    I received an ARC version of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. A blended history of the theory of plate tectonics and the settling of Alaska, The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet<\i>, covers a lot of material in its short length. Ostensibly focused on the March 27, 1964 earthquake, aside from a brief teaser in the introduction, the narrative does not detail the event until chapter 9 (pg 117) halfway through the 244 pages I received an ARC version of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. A blended history of the theory of plate tectonics and the settling of Alaska, The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet<\i>, covers a lot of material in its short length. Ostensibly focused on the March 27, 1964 earthquake, aside from a brief teaser in the introduction, the narrative does not detail the event until chapter 9 (pg 117) halfway through the 244 pages. Before that the reader learns of the settling of Alaska due to the Gold Rush, the life and careers of a few geologists (predominately George Plafker), academic theory wrangling, as well as daily life and personages of the communities most affected by the quakes. Fountain's writing is easily digestible, the science being explained simply enough to be comprehended by the average adult reader. In giving the daily perspective of life in Alaska humanizes the changes wrought by the natural disaster, with much reliance and quoting from the survivors themselves. The author follows many of the themes in the book and communities to the present day.
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  • Cat
    July 26, 2017
    I never paid much attention to earthquakes until I was in a 2 mild ones back in the 1980s...then they became VERY interesting.. Scary things earthquakes, but intriguing to me, too. This was an informative book. A it to technical for me, but interesting. I had some geology in college, but it's been years, so a lot was familiar enough to me to be interesting. Now if only there were a way to stop earthquakes!
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  • Douglas Thornley
    June 30, 2017
    "The great quake" is a great read! Again I find that I am grateful to Goodreads for the contest that allowed me to read a book I may not have picked up otherwise, but in no way does that effect my review. Reading this book I could almost feel the earth shake beneath my feet. Lots of excitement and action. The devastation was responsible for an extensive study in the causes of earth quakes and what we know today. I would recommend this to people who like historic novels and excitement.
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  • Norma
    July 11, 2017
    I found this book interesting. I could not put it down. *Received through Penguin's First To Read Program*
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