For months in early 1980, scientists, journalists and ordinary people listened anxiously to rumblings in the long quiescent volcano Mount St. Helens. Still, when a massive explosion took the top off the mountain, no one was prepared. Fifty-seven people died and the lives of many others were changed forever.
Steve Olson interweaves history, science and vivid personal stories to portray the disaster as a multi-faceted turning point. Powerful economic, political and historical forces influenced who died when the volcano erupted. The eruption of Mount St. Helens transformed volcanic science, the study of environmental resilience and our perceptions of how to survive on an increasingly dangerous planet.