Reviews

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

Rose Burkoff

Any author who can attract a crowd to listen to explanations of changes in plate tectonics theory over several decades deserves applause, and the best-selling author Simon Winchester did just that, in a conversation with Hal Wake at the 18th Annual Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival in October. He managed to make geology sexy, and he discussed rocks, continents, seismology, a rude joke he once told Queen Elizabeth II, and his most recent book, A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (HarperPerennial). Winchester’s presentation was so inspiring that after the festival I picked up one of his other books, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (HarperPerennial), about the passion for words and language and the colossal imaginative effort that went into the creation of our most famous English dictionary.

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