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Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last…
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Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers… (edició 2004)

de Charles R Pellegrino (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2185101,999 (3.67)4
"The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 and the subsequent destruction of the thriving Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum are historic disasters of monumental proportions, resonating across millennia and remembered to this very day. Now Dr. Charles Pellegrino takes us back to the final days of an extraordinary civilization to experience an earth-shattering catastrophe with remarkable and unsettling ties to the unthinkable disaster of September 11, 2001." "Through the modern wonders of forensic archaeology, facts about the everyday lives of the doomed citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum have been brought to light, revealing a society that enjoyed "modern" amenities such as central heating, sliding glass doors, penicillin, hot and cold running water - and a standard of living and life expectancy that would not be achieved again until the 1950s. But these thriving twin cities would be buried along with every hapless citizen in less than twenty-four hours when Vesuvius came frighteningly alive, sending a fearsome column of smoke and fire twenty miles into the sky." "Employing volcano physics, Pellegrino shows that the Vesuvius eruption was one thousand times more powerful than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima, bringing to life the frightful majesty of that volcanic apocalypse. Yet Pellegrino digs deeper, exploring comparisons and connections to other catastrophic events throughout history, in particular the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. As one of the world's only experts on downblast and surge physics, Pellegrino was invited to Ground Zero to examine the site and compare it with devastation wreaked by Vesuvius, in the hope of saving lives during future volcanic eruptions. In doing so, he offers us a glimpse into the final moments of our own "American Vesuvius.""--BOOK JACKET.… (més)
Membre:ToddBlair
Títol:Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections
Autors:Charles R Pellegrino (Autor)
Informació:William Morrow (2004), Edition: First Edition, 496 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

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Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections de Charles R. Pellegrino

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It is hard to blurb this book. On the one hand it is about Vesuvius and volcanic explosions and disasters both natural and man-made. But it is also a book about the origins of the earth, of the universe, and about how precarious our existence is. How so much of what we are today is dependent on natural events a thousand years ago, or a millennia ago, or so long ago that it is almost pointless to count the time because it is so difficult to grasp those sort of numbers.
It is hard to blurb this book. On the one hand it is about Vesuvius and volcanic explosions and disasters both natural and man-made. But it is also a book about the origins of the earth, of the universe, and about how precarious our existence is. How so much of what we are today is dependent on natural events a thousand years ago, or a millennia ago, or so long ago that it is almost pointless to count the time because it is so difficult to grasp those sort of numbers.

I have seen it called a Metalogue and I have to agree with that definition, a text or conversation in which the form resembles the content.

I’m not sure what I expected of this book. I picked up based on the recommendation of someone or other on a library-related work “how to” forum. The cover made me assume it was about Pompeii. But then I read “a new look at the last days of Pompeii, how towers fall, and other strange connections” and I figured that the best thing to do was just start reading and hope it was entertaining.

Well, I’m not sure if entertaining is the right word. When talking about disasters on such a huge scale it seems wrong somehow to describe a book as entertaining. But it was certainly informative. It is a narrative history, with science and religion and philosophy all mixed in there as well. It is extremely well-written, but it has a style all of its own. In a way it is sort of stream of consciousness. And on occasions it is slightly repetitive, but that is a deliberate decision, or at least, that is how it comes across. Some readers might say it rambles all over the place, and it does, but at the same time it has a very important message at its heart. We have very little control over our lives, over the world, and for all our scientific achievement and progress, we are still dependent on the earth’s stability and that cannot be guaranteed, because, over the long-haul the earth is not static. It is a constantly changing, constantly shifting entity.

It is a personal account as well, and for that reason I cannot be too critical of what I found was too much time spent covering individual tales of survival at the World Trade Centre attacks. Some of it was incredibly well told and moving, but reading one story after another in such a manner made these extraordinary events somehow mundane, in my opinion. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
A look at the science of volcanoes, and what it can tell us about the collapse of the Twin Towers and the last days of Pompeii. Not the best disaster book, but a good one about the event. ( )
  BruceCoulson | Feb 21, 2014 |
I opened this book eagerly, expecting to love it. I ended up putting it down after reading about two-thirds, when Pellegrino went off on the tangent: what if the Roman Empire had traveled to the Americas? It could be interesting, but at that point, Pellegrino had gone down so many rabbit holes that I didn't think I could bear another. Unlike James Burkes's Connections, these don't lead to "Aha!" moments, just a wish that Pellegrino had a decent editor.

There is a fine book in here, but I don't know if editing it free of the digressions would leave even half the present number of pages. I'd start out by removing the first 166 pages. While this would eliminate a great section on volcanoes and the origin of life, most of it is a digression, interrupted by further digressions. Pellegrino has a reverse history of the earth and the universe, which might be interesting if irrelevant, but it is diverted into so many tangents, that I would forget that I was reading the history. On top of this, the book is frequently repetitive. Pellegrino also has some serious errors of facts, like his insistence that the eastern Roman Empire fell in the fifth century, that makes one wonder about the rest of the book.

I put this review on Amazon, and Pellegrino argued with me. First he objected to my criticisms of his inclusion of his personal adventures, although I hadn't mentioned them. Then he seemed incapable of understanding that the Roman Empire split between the Western half, which fell in the 5th century, and the Eastern half, the Byzantine Empire, which lasted until the late 15th century. He said if Rome never fell, what was the Renaissance? Rome fell, and that initiated the so-called Dark Ages in Europe, but Constantinople, or Byzantium, lasted a lot longer. I actually asked a Byzantine scholar about this, and he and the rest of the audience had a good laugh over Pellegrino's confusion.

One critic, quoted on the dust jacket, said that reading Pellegrino was like having a conversation that might provoke but would never bore. I thought it was rather like listening to someone who doesn't have conversations, only rambling, self-congratulatory monologues. ( )
1 vota PuddinTame | May 31, 2009 |
I read this book as part of some ongoing research I am doing regarding the city of Pompeii. By trade Pellegrino is a trained paleo-geologist; in this book however, he ventures into physics, sociology, history and religious studies which combine to create something that is difficult to follow and causes the reader to wander off to read other more straight-forward texts . Yes, more than once I found myself more engrossed in my cereal box and trials of the Trix rabbit versus the correlation between volcanic ash and the 9/11 attacks.
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I do not want to convey that this book is without merit but its density keeps it at “okay” instead of “good”. There are two general themes of this book. The first is that explosions follow certain patterns and if scientists can understand these patterns then there can be strategies for reducing the effect of certain catastrophes. With this one Pellegrino does pretty well. There are plenty of fancy graphs, drawings and data tables regarding different explosions and how they compare to one another - including how the 9/11 attacks were only a small fraction of the destruction power of Mt. St. Helens or Pompeii. That fact alone is pretty remarkable to dwell on.
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The second theme is an archaeological and geological review of Pompeii as a city. Again, Pellegrino does well and the “Cities in Amber” chapter is the most notable. However it is in this goal that the sub-title of the book: A New Look At the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections begins to fall into play. Apparently the phrase “other strange connections” give Pellegrino carte-blanc to write freely about early Christianity in Rome, Spartacus, the tomb of John the Baptist, Jesus and his relationship with Mary Magdalene, the Titanic, the historian Josephus and the Big Dipper. All of these other musings left me annoyed and confused.
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Lastly, the remainder of the book is devoted to providing a detailed account of individuals who lived and died during the world trade center bombings. Pellegrino may have felt compelled to add a more human element to a very science-heavy book but it came off too poetic for non-fiction and left me slightly frustrated (I didn’t plan to read a memorial text). By the end I felt like I was back in high school being forced to give up a nice summer day for some “required reading”; only this time it was for my job and not sophomore English class.
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Overall I could recommend sections of this book, but in general I’d go with the Cliff’s Notes version.
————
Grade: C ( )
3 vota JMurphy286 | Mar 22, 2008 |
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

"The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 and the subsequent destruction of the thriving Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum are historic disasters of monumental proportions, resonating across millennia and remembered to this very day. Now Dr. Charles Pellegrino takes us back to the final days of an extraordinary civilization to experience an earth-shattering catastrophe with remarkable and unsettling ties to the unthinkable disaster of September 11, 2001." "Through the modern wonders of forensic archaeology, facts about the everyday lives of the doomed citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum have been brought to light, revealing a society that enjoyed "modern" amenities such as central heating, sliding glass doors, penicillin, hot and cold running water - and a standard of living and life expectancy that would not be achieved again until the 1950s. But these thriving twin cities would be buried along with every hapless citizen in less than twenty-four hours when Vesuvius came frighteningly alive, sending a fearsome column of smoke and fire twenty miles into the sky." "Employing volcano physics, Pellegrino shows that the Vesuvius eruption was one thousand times more powerful than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima, bringing to life the frightful majesty of that volcanic apocalypse. Yet Pellegrino digs deeper, exploring comparisons and connections to other catastrophic events throughout history, in particular the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. As one of the world's only experts on downblast and surge physics, Pellegrino was invited to Ground Zero to examine the site and compare it with devastation wreaked by Vesuvius, in the hope of saving lives during future volcanic eruptions. In doing so, he offers us a glimpse into the final moments of our own "American Vesuvius.""--BOOK JACKET.

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