Island on Fire is an interesting and informative narrative of the 1783 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki, describing its disastrous impact on the local population and the wider adverse effects of atmospheric pollution caused in the northern hemisphere It is well researched and an effortless read, especially suitable for those with little knowledge of volcanism given that almost a third of the book is dedicated to supplementary information not directly related to the Laki incident Whilst not being critical of this inclusion, which I m sure was well intended, it does impact upon the continuity of the basic story and the content would have benefited from a logical structure However as a general account of the Laki eruption and how similar events elsewhere in the world have affected humankind, the book is a worthwhile read and deserves a four star rating. Laki is Iceland s largest volcano Its eruption inis one of history s great, untold natural disasters Spewing out sun blocking ash and then a poisonous fog for eight long months, the effects of the eruption lingered across the world for years It caused the deaths of people as far away as the Nile and created catastrophic conditions throughout Europe Island on Fire is the story not only of a single eruption but the people whose lives it changed, the dawn of modern volcanology, as well as the history and potential of other super volcanoes like Laki around the world And perhaps most pertinently, in the wake of the eruption of another Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallaj kull, which closed European air space in , acclaimed science writers Witze and Kanipe look at what might transpire should Laki erupt again in our lifetime This is an excellent demonstration of how to make a shillingsworth of goods out of a pennyworth of material The author has added nothing to the previously known and easily available facts, and cannot study the original Icelandic sources because she knows no Icelandic There s no trace of original research in other languages, either The thin material on Laki is hugely padded out with elementary geological detail, accounts of eruptions elsewhere, and holiday blog descriptions of a trip to Iceland where, let me add, it is easy for anybody to arrange visits to the relevant sites, including the Laki craters.I could have written this myself if I d had the brazen chutzpah to do so Only wish I had. This telling of the Laki eruption is beautifully done This event is not now within living memory but reading the book it feels as if it is The personal accounts within describe the effects of the eruption on the land, the livestock, the people, the island and the way of life, whilst also demonstrating the scale of the effects across Europe and beyond The book cleverly invokes mention of other volcanic eruption events recent and ancient, including the Icelandic event in 2010 that had such a detrimental impact on air travel A fascinating and informative read. Having visited Iceland earlier in the year I only wished I had read this book beforehand The human storey telling links with the narration of an extremely interesting account elsewhere of global volcanic events and delivers a profound insight into a world where man is not always in control, despite what we may think I am still amazed that people could and do adapt long term to the Icelandic environment, particularly in 1700s, despite a great personal visitor fondness. Really interesting book covering some of the greatest moments in the modern history of volcanic activity A little shorter than what I was expecting though I was hoping that the interesting writing style would continue on to other areas as well the fact that it didn t is kind of given away in the name of the book.Short and sweet A little pricey for the length. Excellent story not only of the of the Laki eruption, it s effects on Iceland and it s people but also of other major eruptions which influenced global climate change and weather patterns Some might say the storytelling is a little too much airport paperback but I found it an excellent read, both accessible and informative. A bit disjointed as diverges into other volcanic eruptions should have concentrated just on Laki and Icelandic volcanoes. Even though it was only rated a VEI4 on the Volcanic Explosive Index it s still believed to have killed upwards of 6 million people throughout Europe as a sulphuric cloud believed at the time to be a strange smelling fog crept across the land.This is the story of Laki the 1783 Icelandic volcanic eruption. Reading Krakatau, Tambora and now Island on Fire was very instructive This book is well written with an easy writing style and covers Laki and other volcanos on Iceland as well as giving some international info on other major eruptions If you are interested in volcanos and how they can change the weather world wide don t miss this one Very informative Very good read.