LEIGH FORBES: Books of all Sorts

Island on Fire: the extraordinary story of Laki, the volcano that turned eighteenth-century Europe dark


Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe.

A brilliant book, which looks at the 1783 eruption of Laki, one of Iceland’s most damaging volcanoes, as well as others in Iceland and around the world.

Drawing from the eyewitness account of local minister, Jón Steingrimsson, Island on Fire details both Laki’s eruption and its fallout – both literal and metaphorical – and the devastating effect it had over 18thC Europe.

With wonderful attention to detail, Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe study the geological, geographical, financial, social, and political implications of Laki’s eruption, as well as the effects such an incident would have on modern-day life (Eyjafjallajokull being minor by comparison).


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