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At 5:36 p.m. on March 27, 1964 which was Good Friday, a magnitude 9.2. earthquake – the second most powerful in world history – struck the young state of Alaska. That is the book I wanted to read ‘The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet’ by Henry Fountain COULD have been such a good book but it will sadly never live up to what it could have been.

This book seemed to focus more on the people who were investigating the quake then the actual quake and survives. Unless the person who was researching the quake happened to be in Alaska at that time I want to know/picture/feel what it was like to be in a magnitude 9.2. earthquake.

The book also kind of time jumps which did not bother me so much but what drove me nuts is that I also found this book went into far more scientific research and detail then what I really wanted to read about.

You see this book could have turned out like ‘The Tunnels’ by Greg Mitchell or ‘Dead Wake’ by Erik Larson (side note comparing this book to ‘Dead Wake’ is an insult). Those two other books were page turners this one was not.  ‘The Tunnels’ and ‘Dead Wake’ were able to balance science/history and historic accounts that ‘The Great Quake’ seems to miss entirely and focus more on science.

Another flaw in this book is the author lists far to many names , so many you can’t keep them apart or remember who is who. For example lets say “Jim was looking back at Kelly, Mary while holding Sue…” instead of saying “Jim would never see two of his children ever again”. But I don’t need to read about Smokey or Tom, Jim, Tiny…ec

The sad part is you have to force your way past so many pages and when you finally make it to chapter 9 (yes I am not joking well over 100 pages into the book) do we finally get to the day of the earthquake and what if felt like.

Yes the book has some photo’s but I really wish they would have had more, or even some better comparisons. For a book so heavily focused on science there were not a lot of photo’s.

So what could have tuned into an amazing read was more like a science book you kind of skim.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

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