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Short Synopsis
A riveting account of the 1906 earthquake and its devastating fire from the New York Times bestselling author of REPORT FROM GROUND ZERO.

Full Synopsis
At 5:12 a.m. on the morning of April 18, 1906, San Francisco was struck by one of the worst earthquakes in history, instantly killing hundreds. The ensuing fires that ravaged the city for days were responsible for the deaths of as many as 3,000 more. In all, 522 blocks and 28,188 buildings were leveled, and some 200,000 people dislocated.

This watershed event in American history has never before been told with the richness of historical detail and insight that our foremost historian of fire, Dennis Smith, brings to it in San Francisco Is Burning. Smith cinematically recounts this terrible tragedy through the stories of the people who lived through those terrible days—from a valiant naval officer who helped save the city's piers and wharves to Eugene Schmitz, the crooked mayor, to the "debonair scoundrel" Abe Ruef, the most erudite city boss in American history. Throughout, Smith reveals many unknown details about the event, from the city's great vulnerability to fire—due to its corrupt and hasty building practices—to the widespread racism the quake unleashed and the atrocities committed by national guardsmen. Told with verve and a seasoned firefighter's knowledge, San Francisco Is Burning is the gripping and definitive account of one of the greatest disasters of the twentieth century.

"An American epic, a masterwork.... Simth teaches so much we need to know. Simultaneously his literary skills mesmerize us. Best of all he inspires." ---Thomas Fleming, author of The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I

"Sklar's reading is clear and highly professional." ---Kliatt

"Smith has always been the chronicler of catastrophic fire, but he always brings to his narratives a powerful sense of the complexity of the human beings who have to deal with its elemental horror." ---Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List

San Francisco Is Burning

The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires

Author Dennis Smith

Narrated by Alan Sklar

Publication date Sep 22, 2005

Running time 13 hrs

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