Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens

Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson

Book Description – Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens

Product Details Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (March 7, 2016) Language: English
ISBN-10: 039324279X
ISBN-13: 978-0393242799
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of March 2016: In 1980, more than a thousand feet disappeared from the top of Mt. St Helens in a moment of stunning power, decapitating the mountain and leveling miles of old growth forest in a shockwave of boiling ash. 57 lives we lost within minutes, and yet the disaster didn’t come without warning: the prior two months saw the volcano awaken in a series of earthquakes, ash plumes, and a massive, growing bulge on the north face looming ominously over Spirit Lake and the valleys below. Why was anyone there at all? Steve Olson’s
Eruption examines the forces at work–volcanic, economic, political, and historical–to tell a story at both geologic and human scales, documenting in thrilling fashion the demise of an iconic landscape as well as those who witnessed it: who they were, why they were there, and what they experienced when the earth opened and the sky fell. —
Jon Foro


“Olson intercuts stories of victims including David Johnston, the volcanologist who was monitoring the explosion, with an account of its impact on science―such as popularizing the use of lidar. With 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide, this is an urgent reminder of the need for advances in the field.” (Nature)

“In Mr. Olson’s telling, [the survivors’] stories read like urgent fiction….These vignettes lend a human face to an event that has become associated largely with geology.” (Michael O’Donnell – Wall Street Journal)

“In his evocative and convincing new book, author Steve Olson reveals that the eruption―the most powerful natural disaster to ever strike the US―is much more than a horror show.…He has a bigger picture in mind, one of the eruption’s role as a touchstone for an evolving society and natural world.” (Randy Dotinga – Christian Science Monitor)

“Vividly retells the story of the May 1980 disaster and questions whether more might have been done to keep the 57 people who died out of harm’s way.” (John B. Saul – Seattle Times)

“Olson brings cinematic structure to descriptions of the events surrounding the eruption of Mount St. Helens….[A] detailed and human-centered look at a terrible disaster.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

“A first-class, meticulously crafted piece of reportage that is as exciting as it is informative―and will long stand as a classic of descriptive narrative of the biggest American volcanic eruption of all our lifetimes―or so we all hope!” (Simon Winchester, author of Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded)

“Steve Olson has brought new dimensions to my experience of the mountain. [He] masterfully delineates the personal histories, cultural assumptions, values, visions, and preconceptions that were brought to bear on the mountain that day. He has the gift of clarity and an enviable ability to find and make drama, present the human narrative, and engage his readers on multiple levels.” (David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars)

“Olson and his truly groundbreaking
Eruption join a rarefied pantheon, where readers can come to understand the most dramatic geological event of our time. This book, as welcome as it is amazing in the depth of its background and the strength of its storytelling, will stand as a stirring and stilling accomplishment.” (Robert Michael Pyle, author of Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land and Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide)

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