Wow. I (finally) just finished reading Krakatoa — The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883, by Simon Winchester. Crazy stuff. I liked it. It’s a smidge on the textbook-side, but he’s an entertaining enough writer — and the topic is so incredible — that you don’t ever get bored during its 380-ish pages. The eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was pretty much the first “world-wide” event. It was the first real “news item” that happened after the advent of global communications (the telegraph).
Winchester examines the legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island Krakatoa, which was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogotá and Washington, D.C. went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island’s destruction were heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all — in view of today’s new political climate — the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims, one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere.