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Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester
When the volcano on the island of Krakatoa exploded in 1863, it was heard 3000 miles away and is supposed to be the loudest sound ever heard by human ears. It obliterated the volcano, destroyed the island, and launched tusnamis over 100 feet high. Over 36,000 people died as a result of the explosion. So much ash and pulverized rock was launched into the atmosphere that global temperatures dropped and red-tinged sunsets were seen around the world. Simon Winchester doesn't just record the details of the explosion and devastation that followed, but also its affects on geology, science, politics, and culture. The new telegraph system was able to transmit the news of the catastrophe around the world for the first time. The San Francisco Chronicle says of Krakatoa, "The investigation of this long-ago geological event resounds in its awe-producing power, seeming both a window into today's tumultuous and connected world, and a devastating reminder of the fragile nature of our environment."