The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event which has only very recently become properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round the world 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 Bogota and Washington went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. Most significantly of all, the eruption helped to trigger a wave of murderous anti-western militancy by fundamentalist Muslims in Java. Simon Winchester's long experience in world wandering, as well as his knowledge of history and geology, gives us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event as he brings it tellingly back to life.
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