Vesuvius by Gillian Darley

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Vesuvius, nestled over the Bay of Naples, is (still) the most famous volcano in the world. There have been nearly thirty major eruptions since AD 79, but none has matched the cataclysm of the eruption which destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum within hours. Since then Vesuvius has been speculated upon, feared, and celebrated by writers and artists and hordes of visitors. It is unquestionably a Wonder of the World. For Greeks and Romans Vesuvius was a fearsome sacred place. Spartacus launched his slave rebellion from its crater. The Enlightenment brought the serious study of the phenomenon of volcanic activity. Its famous visitors included Goethe and Mozart, Byron and the Shelleys, Madame de Stael and Lady Hamilton. Painters popular and serious (from Wright of Derby to Andy Warhol) made its exploding or dormant outline an instantly recognisable icon. Vesuvius has remained a focus for tourism and modern life. At the last big eruption in 1944 the Allied forces assumed they were witnessing the detonation of an immense bomb. Rampant modern development means that millions could be at risk when it next erupts. As Dickens said, Vesuvius is 'the genius of the scene...biding its terrible time'.

About Gillian Darley

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Gillian Darley writes widely in the arts media, mostly about architecture and landscape. She is the author of two acclaimed biographies, both shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography - of John Evelyn and John Soane. She lives in London.
Published May 1, 2011 by Profile Books(GB). 245 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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By Victoria Segal

Jun 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Vesuvius

The Telegraph

In 1660, following a minor eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the inhabitants of nearby Naples were astonished to note, as they walked in the streets, numerous tiny crosses appearing – as if by magic – on their clothing.

May 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Vesuvius

The Telegraph

Vesuvius by Gillian Darley But as Gillian Darley writes in her scholarly little guide to the volcano: “Since 1944, the most recent eruption, a demonic game of grandmother’s footsteps has been going on, in which the population creeps ever higher and nearer ...

May 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Vesuvius

Lancashire Evening Post

Vesuvius, the mighty volcano that catastrophically buried Pompeii in AD79, now emits only a meagre wisp or two of steam, its summit offering tourists little more than a spectacular view over the Bay of Naples.

Jun 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Vesuvius

Country Life

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Jul 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Vesuvius

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