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Describes fifteen of the most remarkable volcanic eruptions across the centuries along with first-hand accounts of the different ways people have reacted to them. Scarth's riveting survey shows that technology and volcanic surveillance have made enormous strides during the present century, although volcanoes remain indomitable and no one has yet learned how an eruption can be stopped.
Alwyn Scarth was Lecturer in Geography at the University of Dundee. He is the author of Volcanoes (1994), Savage Earth (1997), and, with J-C Tanguy, Volcanoes of Europe (2001).
"Scarth's readers will learn what authorities now know about how to predict and prepare for big eruptions, and the riveting accounts he provides of each calamity, eye-witness and secondhand, display the fascination that leads so many scientists to risk their lives to study volcanoes."
– Publishers Weekly
"Informative, fascinating, and sobering for the professional volcanologist, anyone attracted by volcanoes and, indeed, anyone interested in human resourcefulness."
– Hazel Rymer, Times Higher Education Supplement
"Gripping and richly illustrated."
– Robert Kunzig, Discover
"Scarth [...] has assembled riveting eyewitness accounts from lucky survivors through the ages."
– Laurence A. Marschall, The Sciences
"I found the accounts of each of these contrasting events compelling and highly informative, from both geological and sociological perspectives [...] Scarth is to be congratulated on an excellent book that is easy to read, difficult to put down, and deserving of a very wide audience."
– Peter Cattermole, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews