A book about life, death and natural disasters
Blending history, science and eye-witness accounts, and arranged in chapters corresponding to the four elements (earth, air, fire and water), Terra explores the relationship between the planet and the humans who inhabit its surfaces. Through four case histories -- the Lisbon earthquake of 1755; the weather-panics of the summer of 1783; the eruption of Krakatau in 1883; and the Hilo tsunami of 1946 -- Hamblyn reminds us of the earth's unimaginable force and describes what happens when that force is unleashed, both in terms of the immediate human consequences and the longer term economic and scientific implications. Serving, ultimately, as a stark and incontrovertible reminder of our vulnerability when the earth 'goes wrong', Terra also asks why we don't seem fully able to learn from the catastrophes, mistakes and responses of the past.
'Beautifully written, richly detailed and brilliantly judged' Guardian