Eruption by Steve Olson Book Review

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Book Review: Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson

On May 18, 1980 Mount St Helens erupted killing 57 people. This deadly volcanic eruption was one of the deadliest natural disaster in US history. Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson shines the spotlight on this wild event.

Eruption by Steve Olson
Eruption by Steve Olson

In Eruption, Olson weaves an intricate historical and geological story that highlights the major players, the politics, the timber industry, the national forests, the scientific research, the rescuers, the personal stories, and other factors surrounding the Mount St. Helens eruption. While he dives into abundant detail about the Weyerhaeuser dynasty, all of the facts and stories build up to the events leading up to May 18 and the aftermath of this natural disaster.

Olson used numerous sources to research this well written and well structured book to tell the before, during, and after stories of the mountain and the volcanic eruption. Through the use of vivid details and vibrant descriptions, Olson brings this multi-layered natural disaster to life in a way that every reader will enjoy.

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Not only will this book paint a beautiful picture of this powerful volcano and the Pacific Northwest, but it will also serve as a reminder that nature and in particularly volcanoes deserve to be respected. As Olson writes:

“The loss of life at Mount St. Helens occurred because people were unable to see a risk that in retrospect was obvious. They thought that the risk was small, or that they were smart enough to get out of the way if something happened. Most of us go through life this way. We ignore the risks we face so we are not paralyzed by dread. Only in retrospect does the extent of our willful ignorance become clear.”

Olson’s Eruption is an eye-opening & entertaining book that was hard to put down. Every mountain enthusiast should pick up a copy. This is non-fiction at its finest. Two thumbs up.

If you enjoy the book, go climb or ski Mount St. Helens. It will give you a new perspective on the mountains that you choose to summit.



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