At 11:58 on the morning of September 1, 1923, a terrible earthquake shook Japan. That quake, and the terrifying fire and tornadoes which followed it during the afternoon, has since been deemed one of the worst disasters in recorded history. With an admirable calm and attention to detail, the experienced author of this book tells how the quake began, what people did under the stress of it, and how it ravaged the great cities of Tokyo and Yokohama. Some of the havoc is seen through Dr. Ikeguchi, whose entire family was burned in the holocaust following the quake. A camera man, a yachtsman, a hotel manager---these and many others appear in and out of the brief, violent history. As houses collapse, water mains burst, and fires break out, the description remains within the limits of comprehension. But the fires afterward---caused by vacuums of air and tremendous heat---equal in intensity those of the atomic blasts on Japan 20 years later. In reading of them, one can only believe they happened because records prove they did. Clouds of steam and flame leapt into the air. Thousands of people were seared to death in streets, tunnels, or canals, tunnels, or canals. When it was over, 80% of Yokohama and 60% of Tokyo were no more. The aftermath---the help given by America and other nations, the immediate work of rebuilding, the sympathy of the people of the world give the as much of an affirmative ending as it could have. History well presented. In an era when atomic fire storms may threaten us all. It is also somehow disturbingly current in meaning.