In a new preface to The Great Earthquake, Mr Fradkin draws parallels between San Francisco and New Orleans, which was battered by Hurricane Katrina.
"Both cities had been forewarned of disaster: San Francisco by previous earthquakes and fires and New Orleans by earlier floods and hurricanes," he writes.
In both cases, he says the warnings were ignored. "They were, in other words, ripe for major catastrophes."
California Historical Society
Image: California State Parks