This was another book which I thought would keep me occupied whilst on holiday. I could not put it down. Taking a major historical event: earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami and the weather, the author has demonstrated though eye-witness records just how much each of the events have shaped future understanding of the effects of nature on the 'civilised' world.
If ever there was a book which advises us to learn from our mistakes, it is this. Lessons were undoubtedly learned, for example, in Hawaii, on how best to handle an incoming tsunami. I had to laugh at the stupidity of the 'surfer types', whose only thought was to ride this big incoming wave. Yet, that was the case then. Now, people realise the damage that an incoming tsunami can do, and know that the best thing to do is to run in the opposite direction. Similarly, the descriptions of tour parties going to see the Krakatoa eruption, with people oblivious to the risks they were taking.
I would say that this is a book which can be read by both 'science' types and 'humanities' types, as both sides can learn from it. Age-wise, I would say anyone over the age of 14 would enjoy this book. In terms of learning from primary sources in history, this book is a good demonstration.