The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906
The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906
How San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself
Philip Fradkin



The first indication of the prolonged terror that followed the 1906 earthquake occurred when a ship steaming off San Francisco's Golden Gate "seemed to jump clear out of the water." This gripping account of the earthquake, the devastating firestorms that followed, and the city's subsequent reconstruction vividly shows how, after the shaking stopped, humans, not the forces of nature, nearly destroyed San Francisco in a remarkable display of simple ineptitude and power politics. Bolstered by previously unpublished eyewitness accounts and photographs, this definitive history of a fascinating city caught in the grip of the country's greatest urban disaster will forever change conventional understanding of an event one historian called "the very epitome of bigness."

Philip Fradkin takes us onto the city's ruptured streets and into its exclusive clubs, teeming hospitals and refugee camps, and its Chinatown. He introduces the people--both famous and infamous--who experienced these events, such as Jack and Charmian London, Enrico Caruso, James Phelan, and Abraham Ruef. He traces the horrifying results of the mayor's illegal order to shoot-to-kill anyone suspected of a crime, and he uncovers the ugliness of racism that almost led to war with Japan. He reveals how an elite oligarchy failed to serve the needs of ordinary people, the heroic efforts of obscure citizens, the long-lasting psychological effects, and how all these events ushered in a period of unparalleled civic upheaval.

This compelling look at how people and institutions function in great catastrophes demonstrates just how deeply earthquake, fires, hurricanes, floods, wars, droughts, or acts of terrorism can shape us.

Title The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906
Subtitle How San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself
Author Philip Fradkin
Publisher University of California Press
Title First Published 03 April 2006
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 448 p.
ISBN-10 0520248201
ISBN-13 9780520248205
Publication Date 03 April 2006
Main content page count 448
Weight 16 oz.
List Price $23.95
 


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