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Earthquake at Dawn by Kristiana Gregory

            Earthquake at Dawn by Kristiana Gregory. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1992.
             This book is a fictionalized account of actual events that took place during the San Francisco earthquake on April 18, 1906. It's based on the life of Edith Irvine, a twenty two year old photographer who was in San Francisco on that day. .
             The account begins when Edith, her father and their maid, the fifteen year old Daisy Valentine, are on their way to San Francisco. Edith's father has business to attend to in the city and Edith and her maid are in route to a photography exhibit in Europe. However, when they are on the boat in the harbor, an earthquake strikes the city and they watch the San Francisco's shoreline in horror. The rest of the story deals with Edith and her maid attempting to find Edith's father, who became lost in that chaos, and with having to try to survive in the aftermath of the earthquake with fires everywhere, buildings collapsing every minute, people searching desperately for their loved ones and with food and water scarce.
             Also, there's a secondary theme of the story , which is the attempt on the part of San Francisco's politicians to cover up the extent of the deaths and damage to the city. Cameras are banned and people is not allowed to come inside or outside the city. However, at the end, despite the risk of being shot for disobeying orders, Edith and Daisy are not only able to leave the city alright, but they also manage to hide a camera and some other equipment in a baby carriage and take a variety of photos which are reproduced in the book.
             The title of the book is Earthquake at Dawn because it mainly describes, through the eyes of a twenty two year old photographer (Edith Irvine) and her fifteen year old maid (Daisy Valentine), the horror of an earthquake in the city of San Francisco on April 18, 1906 at 05:12:05 am.

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