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Hero on Mount St. Helens: The Life and Legacy of David A. Johnston

by Melanie Holmes Flame and Flight
Pub Date:
06/2019
ISBN:
9780252084317
Format:
Pbk 240 pages
Price:
AU$46.99 NZ$48.69
Product Status: In Stock Now
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A geologist, a volcano, and a historic disaster


 


Serendipity placed David Johnston on Mount St. Helens when the volcano rumbled to life in March 1980. Throughout that ominous spring, Johnston was part of a team that conducted scientific research that underpinned warnings about the mountain. Those warnings saved thousands of lives when the most devastating eruption in United States history blew apart Mount St. Helens but killed Johnston on the ridge that now bears his name.


 


Melanie Holmes tells the story of Johnston's journey from a nature-loving Boy Scout to a committed geologist. Blending science with personal detail, Holmes follows Johnston through encounters with Aleutian volcanoes, his work helping the Portuguese government assess the geothermal power of the Azores, and his dream job as a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Interviews and personal writings reveal what a friend called "the most unjaded person I ever met," an imperfect but kind, intelligent young scientist passionately in love with his life and work and determined to make a difference.
"Filled with tender mercies that show the heart and humanism of those whose passion sends them into peril in the name of science." --Daily Southtown


"This wonderful book has several subjects; volcanology, natural disasters and human behavior, heroism, and the life of one particular man. This is an engrossing read that is absorbingly suspenseful, despite the fact that readers know the outcome. David Johnston, the hero of the story, is a multi-dimensional, complex character. Holmes shows an understanding of human psychology and has a gift for evoking personality with a few verbal gestures. We come to know David Johnston and the part he plays in the human drama surrounding Mount St. Helens. Unforgettable."--Mary V. Dearborn, author of Ernest Hemingway: A Biography
Melanie Holmes is the author of The Female Assumption, recipient of a 2014 Global Media Award from the Population Institute.