Since its publication in a cloth edition in 1976, Penick's book has met with enormous regional appeal as well as critical acclaim. For the new paper edition, the author has written a new introduction. New material in the final chapter reports on the scientific inquiries into the New Madrid quakes since 1976.
Critical comments on the cloth edition: "James Penick has put together a well-written account of the quakes and their effects upon people, animals, waterways, and land. Based on the scattered accounts of the times it offers a good insight into the reactions of persons suddenly confronted with the perils of the unknown. The vivid description of the devastation wrought upon the face of the land gives a picture of dramatic change brought about by the upheaval of natural forces. In short, reading Penick's work one is readily caught up in the total violence of the event."--American Historical Review
"Penick provides information relevant to present studies of earthquakes in this area."--Earthquake Information Bulletin
James L. Penick, Jr., is Professor of History at Loyola University of Chicago. Among his many published works is The Great Western Land Pirate: John A. Murrell in Legend and History (University of Missouri Press, 1981).