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Vesuvius: A Biography
by Alwyn Scarth
Capricious, vibrant, and volatile, Vesuvius has been and remains one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes. In its rage, it has destroyed whole cities and buried thousands alive. In its calm, its ashes have fertilized the soil, providing for the people who have lived in its shadows. For over two millennia, the dynamic presence of this volcano has fascinated scientists, a ...more
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Princeton University Press
(first published January 1st 2009)
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This volume is an essential read for volcano-lovers, particularly those who also find Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples an irresistible place to visit. Scarth succeeds brilliantly in marrying the history, geology, devastation, and fascination with what is easily the most famous volcano in the world. Beginning with the Great Eruption of 79 A.D. which devastated Pompeii and Herculaneum (present day Ercalano/ Resina), this book leads the reader through all the major eruptions since. Whether there were ...more
This book, a social, historical, and scientific history of the volcano Vesuvius, is both delightful and deeply alarming. Its delight comes from Scarth's clear, engaging style; he uses both scientific data and excerpts from historical documents, and peppers the text with anecdotes about people who have suffered with and researched the volcano over time. The alarm is sounded by the final chapter, which discusses prospects for a possibly cataclysmic eruption in the densely populated, anarchic Neapo ...more