“The first history of seismic engineering in San Francisco . . . spiced with survivor and eyewitness accounts. ”—Midwest Book Review
For the past one hundred and fifty years, architects and engineers have quietly been learning from each quake and designing newer earthquake-resistant building techniques and applying them in an ongoing effort to save San Francisco. Bracing for Disaster is a fresh appraisal of a city responding to repeated devastation. In the language of a skilled teacher, Tobriner examines what really happened during the city’s earthquakes—which buildings were damaged, which survived, and who were the unsung heroes. Filled with more than two hundred photographs, diagrams, and illustrations, this is a revealing look at the history of buildings by a true expert, and it offers lessons not just for San Francisco but for any city beset by natural disasters.
“The real saga is how a fast-growing city grapples with the reality that it has more to worry about than fires and fog. The core of the story is fairly technical, rooted in the crude intuitive ways in which builders reacted to a seismic threat they could neither measure nor define. But Tobriner crafts the story well.”—SFGate