Book Review: Krakatoa by Simon Winchester

Krakatoa - Winchester


By Simon Winchester

My Rating: 3 Stars

To say that this was a book about a volcano doesn’t really do it justice. I never thought a book about a volcano would cover so many different subjects. But this one does. While reading this book, I learned a great deal about evolution, plate tectonics, continental drift, animal migration, the shipping industry in the east indies, and of course all about volcanos. If the goal of me reading more nonfiction this year was to learn more, then this book is quintessential to my learning this year. Packed full of so much information about the events leading up to the explosion of Krakatoa, the event itself, post explosion and  up to modern day, you will most assuredly learn something from this book.

Simon Winchester does an exceptional job of detailing all aspects of this volcano. It is quite evident however, that you are reading a book written by a geologist. Some parts of the book are a bit dry since he goes into a fair amount of detail regarding plate tectonics and continental drift, but if you can get through that 50 pages or so, you’ll enjoy the majority of the book. That’s not to say that those parts aren’t interesting, but as the reader you do feel a certain amount of excitement regarding the actual explosion of Krakatoa. Call it morbid fascination, people always want to hear about the destruction caused by natural disasters and the results of such natural disasters.

What I found most fascinating about this book was the bit about Darwin and the theory of evolution as well as what is actually happening at the site of Krakatoa now. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to live in that region knowing the volcano is growing once again therefore making the events of the past not simply a possibility of happening again, but rather an almost certainty. The big question is when it will happen not if it will happen.

Overall this was a great read. I highly recommend it. I’m definitely going to need to find some more nonfiction about volcanos to read up on to further my knowledge about them.


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