It is hard to blurb this book. On the one hand it is about Vesuvius and volcanic explosions and disasters both natural and man-made. But it is also a book about the origins of the earth, of the universe, and about how precarious our existence is. How so much of what we are today is dependent on natural events a thousand years ago, or a millennia ago, or so long ago that it is almost pointless to count the time because it is so difficult to grasp those sort of numbers.
Charles Pellegrino: Born May 5, 1953, in New York, NY; son of John and Jane Pellegrino; children: three. Engaged to Mary, the soon to be last Mrs. Pellegrino. (from his official website)
Recently he has become a controversial figure as his claims to a PhD have been revealed to be false, and numerous details from his books are being challenged. Wikipedia is a good place to start.