Lightning-Fire from the Sky


This book is a detailed, readable account of a phenomenon that has fascinated humankind since prehistoric man hid in caves when thunder pealed overhead. As the world’s population has grown, the risk of injury or death by lightning has steadily increased—but is still rare enough that many medical professionals do not know how to treat its victims. The author, an electrical engineer, brings the complex physics of lightning strikes alive in a graphic but non-technical way designed to appeal to a general reader audience. The book is enhanced by a comprehensive photographic treatment that includes some never-before-published photographs of lightning and its effects. The book opens with a foreword by Dr. Martin A. Uman, of the University of Florida, the world’s best known lightning expert, who describes new developments in our ability to forecast dangerous storms that may pose lightning risks. The chapters that follow describe the history of the pioneering lightning researchers (some of who got close enough to their subject to be killed by it), and then describe in an understandable manner the complex chain of events that precipitate a lightning strike. The various forms of lightning are portrayed. The effect of electricity on the human body is described, along with characteristic symptoms that victims might ask their medical practitioners to investigate and possibly treat. The variations in lightning effects on human beings are dramatized through a series of first person accounts. Another chapter deals with the effects of lightning on property—buildings, transportation systems of all types, and electric utilities and other critical infrastructure—and discusses the best means to provide lightning protection for property. Finally, new developments in research, lightning prediction, and prevention are examined. However, it is from the real-life stories of individuals who have been struck by lightning that we can learn of the insidious nature of lightning and the dangers it represents. The book includes an annotated bibliography of lightning literature.


Appearing throughout the text are 14 color plates and 20 black and white line illustrations that illustrate the main points being made in the narrative, as well as an annotated bibliography. Dockside Sailing Press. Paperback, 288pp, 14 color plates, 20 illustrations, 6 tables $15.00, e-book $5.99.(4 reviews, 4.8/5.0). Note: Send check to Dockside Sailing Press for paperback at a discount, $12 + $3 postage.


SKU: 00003
  • Paperback (288pp, 14 color plates, 20 illustrations, 6 tables) 

    eBook (4 reviews, 4.8/5.0)



  • Lightning: Fire from the SkyCraig B. Smith

    Lightning—an age-old phenomenon that has always fascinated humankind—turns out to be more dangerous than we would expect. In this book Craig B. Smith explains how lightning is formed and when and where the risks are the greatest. The effects of a lightning strike on humans is described as well as measures to be used to protect yourself if you are suddenly exposed to a thunderstorm. The effects of lightning on buildings and infrastructure are also described. The book includes case studies and interviews with lightning strike victims and others who have personal experiences with lightning. Readers have reported that greater awareness from reading this book may have saved their life. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book is donated to the Lightning Strike and Electrical Shock Survivors International, a support group.

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