Most helpful positive review
It's a good thing he's such a good writer...
on June 8, 2009
...otherwise, this book would have been a real labour to get through.
Simon Winchester is 'thorough'. And this is good, because at the heart of everything he writes, is a story...and he's a very good storyteller. However...
However, there were times when I had to confirm the title of the book. That it was in fact about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Because he was bringing in material and references from 'what seemed to be, anyway' all over the place. In fact, I often joked to myself that I was expecting there to be a link in the Appendix, a link to an online resource where you could read all about every person who was actually there that April day, a complete biographical history. (I'll add here that a great parody skit could be made of Mr. Winchester's habits in this area...although it would have limited appeal, so esoteric a subject, he would be...)
Having said that, I applaud his efforts. I now know so much more about this event than before. And feel I've also gained a ton of understanding about related elements of history, of society, of people in general. I feel my world has been delightfully expanded, courtesy of Mr. Winchester's tome.
But the book is woefully mis-titled.