Books by Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester studied geology at Oxford and has written for Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. He is the author of KRAKATOA, THE MAP THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN, and THE FRACTURE ZONE, among many other t


HISTORY
Released: Oct. 15, 2013

"Another winning book from a historian whose passion for his subjects saturates his works."
Using a nifty structure around the five classic elements of wood, earth, water, fire and metal, Winchester (Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, 2010, etc.) celebrates the brains and brawn that forged America's Manifest Destiny. Read full book review >
THE MAN WITH THE ELECTRIFIED BRAIN by Simon Winchester
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 6, 2013

"All the more effective through its matter-of-fact understatement, as it illuminates mysteries it can't resolve."
A short, scary and ultimately redemptive recounting of the veteran journalist's mental breakdown. Read full book review >
SKULLS BY SIMON WINCHESTER by Simon Winchester
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Dec. 13, 2011

"Challenging reading for younger audiences, at least in its more academic passages, but dazzling visuals and ingenious digital enhancements (not to mention the topic itself) more than compensate. (iPad informational app. 12-18, adult)"
Science meets art, and outstanding page and software design put this meaty survey of vertebrate frontage on the top shelf. Read full book review >
THE ALICE BEHIND WONDERLAND by Simon Winchester
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 2011

"Quite a slender volume—the actual narrative runs under 100 pages—but, as usual with Winchester, well-founded, witty and perceptive."
Winchester (Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, 2010, etc.) offers his take on the relationship between author/amateur photographer Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and Alice Pleasance Liddell—the "Alice" in his Wonderland and the subject of a certain unsettling photograph. Read full book review >
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Nov. 2, 2010

"A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account."
The prolific journalist and historian returns with a story both geographically immense and profoundly personal. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 6, 2008

"Reflects its subject's passionate interests and makes scholarship positively sexy."
Another formidable, absorbing reading experience by versatile Winchester (A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906, 2005, etc.), this one about the British scholar who made China's contributions to civilization known in the West. Read full book review >
NATURE
Released: May 1, 2008

"… [W]e humans inhabit this planet subject to geological consent, which can be withdrawn, at any time." Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Oct. 4, 2005

"Winchester is an engaging tour guide, and his tale a humbling one. Humankind exists, he concludes, by "the planet's consent.""
From Chinatown street corners to outer space, an enlightening and edifying examination of the catastrophic San Francisco earthquake of April 1906 and how it shaped subsequent American history. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"A magnificent account, swift and compelling, of obsession, scholarship, and, ultimately, philanthropy of the first magnitude. (30 b&w illustrations, not seen)"
The conception, gestation, and birth of the world's most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary. Read full book review >
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: April 4, 2003

"Supremely well told: a fine exception to the dull run of most geological writing."
A vivid reconstruction of a volcanic explosion felt around the world—and a tale of curious twists it is. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 14, 2001

"A fluid, fascinating, emotional story of an unlikely genius who created a science. (60 illustrations)"
A masterful, felicitous tribute to Smith (1769-1839), the extraordinary ordinary Englishman who conceived, researched, and drew the world's first geological map. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 4, 1998

Remarkably readable, this chronicle of lexicography roams from the great dictionary itself to hidden nooks in the human psyche that sometimes house the motives for murder, the sources for sanity, and the blueprint for creativity. Read full book review >

Released: Nov. 1, 1996

Winchester (Pacific Rising, 1992, etc.) depicts the central role of the Yangtze in China's long, tumultuous history in a lively narrative that ranges from the scholarly to the surreal to the truly harrowing. Winchester and Lily, his tenacious Chinese assistant, begin their voyage at the mouth of the 3,900-mile-long river, alighting first at Shanghai, where they find a city fiercely shrugging off its 19th-century colonial past and rushing to 21st-century preeminence. Read full book review >

FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Hong Kong resident Winchester—a Manchester Guardian correspondent whose nonfiction Their Noble Lordships (1982) and Pacific Rising (1991) dished up the House of Lords and the Pacific Rim respectively—treats the breakup of China as future historical fiction. Read full book review >