Tom Fleming

What Lies Beneath

A Crack in the Edge of the World: The Great American Earthquake of 1906

By

Viking 412pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The allure of California – its climate, its mineral wealth – has always been offset by its precarious position on the geological map. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 saw a city that had gotten rich quick thanks to the gold rush find its fertile ground being torn from under it; but, as Simon Winchester’s thorough account of the disaster makes clear, it was geological innocence rather than any innate Californian hubris – or general ineptitude – that allowed the earthquake to have such an effect.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,