Title

Book Review - California Earthquakes: Science, Risk, and the Politics of Hazard Mitigation

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Western Historical Quarterly

Volume

33

Issue

4

Publisher

Western Historical Quarterly, Utah State University

Publication Date

1998

First Page

497

Last Page

498

Abstract

That California has a Seismic Safety Commission, responsible for establishing and enforcing seismic engineering and geology codes, and that the federal government has support a wide-ranging (if under-funded) program of earthquake research, would likely be of little surprise to a well-informed citizen of California. How this came to be from 1906 to 1977 is the topic of Carl-Henry Geschwind's thorough and well-documented study of the history of earthquakes in California. The book documents the development of scientific understanding of California earthquakes and examines the evolution of the "regulatory-state" apparatus of enforcing an ever increasingly strict set of building codes in the state. Geschwind adeptly leads the reader from the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the nascent science of seismology, and examines how science and commercial interests clashed over safety regulations sixty years before Ronald Regan became governor.