Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Simon Winchester

Narrated By: Simon Winchester

Date: January 2004

Duration: 12 hours 2 minutes


The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth's most dangerous volcano -- Krakatoa.

The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa -- the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster -- was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event that has only very recently been properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round die planet for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogotá and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims: one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere.

Simon Winchester's long experience in the world wandering as well as his knowledge of history and geology give us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event as he brings it telling back to life.


  • Anonymous

    Plot: one volcano's eruption. Book: 400 plus pages. This could be so boring, but it was anything but. History, geology, and biology courses all rolled into one great read.

  • Albert

    This is easily one of the best recorded books we have enjoyed. The prose is excellent and interesting. It is very well narrated. The author is a master story-teller.

  • jean

    This is an absolutely fascinating book. It covers biology, geology, volcanology, geography etc. It covers the history of the Indonesian area along with the history of science in the area. I found the story of the Wallace line interesting. The book also covers the effect of the explosion on European and American art to the discovery of the jet stream to plate tectonics, to how the area became Muslim. One of the best books I have read in a while.

  • Anonymous

    It takes a while to actually get to the eruption. But it is an excellant history of the area. By the time you get to the eruption, it is more of a side note.

  • Jonathan Jones

    not a good book to listen to in the car. it takes the author forever to get to the story at hand. too much history which has nothing to do with the eruption of krakatoa.

  • Anonymous

    Always a pleasure to read/listen to Simon Winchester. Great detail and obvious love of geology adds to a great story.

  • Tim Aho

    This book is packed with info. I found myself doing a lot of rewinding to try to begin to absurb it all. So, if your looking for easy listening then this may not be for you. However, there were several times within the book I found myself transported back to that very scary time. If you like science, history, and trivia this is a must. Great work Mr Winchester

  • Kathy Linn

    This is one of those books best enjoyed in small doses, so plan it for commuting rather than a long trip. Doing it this way I really enjoyed going down all the side roads the author takes and learned a lot about the history of Indonesia, the behavior of volcanoes, and a lot of other's a fascinating story, too, in its own right.

  • KD

    I'm a big fan of Simon Winchester's books, and I am fascinated by major events like earthquakes and vocanic eruptions and the like, so you'd think I'd love love love this book. But I don't. I just like it. It's longer than it needs to be. Sometimes it seems like he repeats himself. And even though I do love detail, there is almost too much detail. Plus, and probably most frustrating for me, it seemed like the story wandered....he talked about Krakatoa, then something else, then Krakatoa, then something else, then an earlier event with Krakatoa...I found it distracting. That said, it is a very rich, detailed, and illuminating book about a well-known yet little-known event. The book does a wonderful job of telling you everything about an event you only think you know about.

  • Dalida Jongsma

    I really enjoyed listening to this book, it was well narrated and informative.


by Simon Winchester

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Krakatoa, Simon Winchester
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This title is due for release on January 13, 2004.

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