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Synopsis

The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 was no run-of-the-mill misfortune-it was a watershed moment that shook the pillars of an inveterate social order and sent reverberations throughout the Western world. Earth, water, wind, and fire all conspired to produce a hellish catastrophe that lasted for a full five days and left Lisbon thoroughly annihilated. Nicholas Shrady's unique account of this first modern disaster and its aftereffects successfully articulates the outcome of the earthquake-the eighteenth-century equivalent of a mass media frenzy giving rise to a host of other fascinating developments, such as disaster preparedness, landmark social reform, urban planning, and the birth of seismology.

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