This book benefits from being read by Winchester, who wends his way through multifaceted sentences and make us comfortable with them. Winchester writes the way he speaks, so one has the feeling of sitting in an audience at a good geology lecture that is particularly pertinent at this moment of history. Then comes a vivid verbal slide show of San Francisco before, during and after the 1906 earthquake, interspersed with fascinating speculation about the social ramifications of particularly destructive natural phenomena. The book is sometimes repetitive (offering 10 examples where three would suffice), but Winchester remains a good storyteller. The interview at the end is a nice idea, but the questions mainly reiterate important aspects of the book including his dire earthquake predictions for San Francisco and many other areas of the globe. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Reviews, July 18).