The Sixth Extinction
An Unnatural History
Paperback ISBN: 1250062187
Drawing on the work of geologists, botanists, marine biologists and other researchers, an award-winning writer for The New Yorker discusses the five devastating mass extinctions on earth and predicts the coming of a sixth. 75,000 first printing.
The Big Ones
How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them)
Hardcover ISBN: 0385542704
By the world-renowned seismologist, a riveting history of natural disasters, their impact on our culture, and new ways of thinking about the ones to come Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes--they stem from the same forces that give our planet life. Earthquakes give us natural springs; volcanoes produce fertile soil. It is only when these forces exceed our ability to withstand them that they become disasters. Together they have shaped our cities and their architecture; elevated leaders and toppled governments; influenced the way we think, feel, fight, unite, and pray. The history of natural disasters is a history of ourselves. In The Big Ones, leading seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones offers a bracing look at some of the world's greatest natural disasters, whose reverberations we continue to feel today. At Pompeii, Jones explores how a volcanic eruption in the first century AD challenged prevailing views of religion. She examines the California floods of 1862 and the limits of human memory. And she probes more recent events--such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the American hurricanes of 2017--to illustrate the potential for globalization to humanize and heal. With population in hazardous regions growing and temperatures around the world rising, the impacts of natural disasters are greater than ever before. The Big Ones is more than just a work of history or science; it is a call to action. Natural hazards are inevitable; human catastrophes are not. With this energizing and exhaustively researched book, Dr. Jones offers a look at our past, readying us to face down the Big Ones in our future.
Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Man, Nature, And Climate Change
Paperback ISBN: 1596911301
A New Yorker writer tackles the controversial issue of global warming from every angle, incorporating interviews with researchers and environmentalists, explaining the science and the studies, unpacking the politics, drawing parallels to lost ancient civilizations, and presenting the personal tales of those who are being affected most. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
A Fire Story
Hardcover ISBN: 1419735853
Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities. In addition, 6,200 homes and 8,900 structures and were destroyed. Author Brian Fies’s firsthand account of this tragic event is an honest, unflinching depiction of his personal experiences, including losing his house and every possession he and his wife had that didn’t fit into the back of their car. In the days that followed, as the fires continued to burn through the area, Brian hastily pulled together A Fire Story and posted it online—it immediately went viral. He is now expanding his original webcomic to include environmental insight and the fire stories of his neighbors and others in his community. A Fire Story is an honest account of the wildfires that left homes destroyed, families broken, and a community determined to rebuild.
Five Days at Memorial
Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
Hardcover ISBN: 0307718964
Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina – and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing. In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better. A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.
The Great Quake
How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet
Paperback ISBN: 1101904089
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice In the bestselling tradition of Erik Larson’s Isaac’s Storm, The Great Quake is a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in North American recorded history -- the 1964 Alaska earthquake that demolished the city of Valdez and swept away the island village of Chenega -- and the geologist who hunted for clues to explain how and why it took place. At 5:36 p.m. on March 27, 1964, a magnitude 9.2. earthquake – the second most powerful in world history – struck the young state of Alaska. The violent shaking, followed by massive tsunamis, devastated the southern half of the state and killed more than 130 people. A day later, George Plafker, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, arrived to investigate. His fascinating scientific detective work in the months that followed helped confirm the then-controversial theory of plate tectonics. In a compelling tale about the almost unimaginable brute force of nature, New York Times science journalist Henry Fountain combines history and science to bring the quake and its aftermath to life in vivid detail. With deep, on-the-ground reporting from Alaska, often in the company of George Plafker, Fountain shows how the earthquake left its mark on the land and its people -- and on science.
A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago
2nd Edition Paperback ISBN: 022627618x
On Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicagoans awoke to a blistering day in which the temperature would reach 106 degrees. The heat index, which measures how the temperature actually feels on the body, would hit 126 degrees by the time the day was over. Meteorologists had been warning residents about a two-day heat wave, but these temperatures did not end that soon. When the heat wave broke a week later, city streets had buckled; the records for electrical use were shattered; and power grids had failed, leaving residents without electricity for up to two days. And by July 20, over seven hundred people had perished-more than twice the number that died in the Chicago Fire of 1871, twenty times the number of those struck by Hurricane Andrew in 1992in the great Chicago heat wave, one of the deadliest in American history. Heat waves in the United States kill more people during a typical year than all other natural disasters combined. Until now, no one could explain either the overwhelming number or the heartbreaking manner of the deaths resulting from the 1995 Chicago heat wave. Meteorologists and medical scientists have been unable to account for the scale of the trauma, and political officials have puzzled over the sources of the city's vulnerability. InHeat Wave, Eric Klinenberg takes us inside the anatomy of the metropolis to conduct what he calls a "social autopsy," examining the social, political, and institutional organs of the city that made this urban disaster so much worse than it ought to have been. Starting with the question of why so many people died at home alone, Klinenberg investigates why some neighborhoods experienced greater mortality than others, how the city government responded to the crisis, and how journalists, scientists, and public officials reported on and explained these events. Through a combination of years of fieldwork, extensive interviews, and archival research, Klinenberg uncovers how a number of surprising and unsettling forms of social breakdownincluding the literal and social isolation of seniors, the institutional abandonment of poor neighborhoods, and the retrenchment of public assistance programscontributed to the high fatality rates. The human catastrophe, he argues, cannot simply be blamed on the failures of any particular individuals or organizations. For when hundreds of people die behind locked doors and sealed windows, out of contact with friends, family, community groups, and public agencies, everyone is implicated in their demise. As Klinenberg demonstrates in this incisive and gripping account of the contemporary urban condition, the widening cracks in the social foundations of American cities that the 1995 Chicago heat wave made visible have by no means subsided as the temperatures returned to normal. The forces that affected Chicago so disastrously remain in play in America's cities, and we ignore them at our peril. For the Second Edition Klinenberg has added a new Preface showing how climate change has made extreme weather events in urban centers a major challenge for cities and nations across our planet, one that will require commitment to climate-proofing changes to infrastructure rather than just relief responses.
A Paradise Built in Hell
The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Paperback ISBN: 0143118072
A National Book Critics Circle-winning writer explores the phenomenon through which people become resourceful and altruistic after a disaster and communities often reflect a shared sense of purpose, analyzing such events as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. Reprint.
Run the Storm
A Savage Hurricane, a Brave Crew, and the Wreck of the SS El Faro
Hardcover ISBN: 150118489x
In the bestselling tradition of A Perfect Storm and The Finest Hours, a harrowing account of the incredible true story of the recent shocking disappearance of El Faro, a gigantic American cargo ship that sank suddenly in the Bermuda Triangle in 2015—taking with it thirty-three lives. On October 1, 2015, the SS El Faro, a cargo ship tall as a hundred-story building that made a regular run between Jacksonville, Florida and Puerto Rico, delivering everything from razor blades to new Chevrolet cars, disappeared in Hurricane Joaquin, a category 4 storm. The ship, her hundreds of shipping containers, and her entire crew sank to the bottom of the ocean, three miles down. The sinking was the greatest seagoing US merchant marine shipping disaster since World War II, and evoked the haunting resonances of Gordon Lightfoot’s famous song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The massive ship had a seasoned crew, state-of-the-art navigation equipment, advance warning of the storm, and knowledge of its supposed track. It seemed incomprehensible that such a ship could sink so suddenly, unable to send even a Mayday call before disappearing. How, in this day and age, could something like this happen? The answer is that a ship as large as the El Faro doesn’t sink for just one reason; it sinks because many factors intersect—everything from hurricane-tracking algorithms to the decay of rubber gaskets on hatches to the arcane science of loading shipping containers to the complex relationship between a ship’s captain and his corporate overlords, who are anxious that cargo be delivered on time. All of these factors and more came into play in the sinking of the El Faro. Relying on Coast Guard inquest hearings as well as numerous interviews, Foy has crafted a brilliant account that brings to life the last voyage of El Faro, from her loading to her shocking demise, a story lasting only a few days but which relentlessly becomes more suspenseful as the deep-rooted flaws leading to the ship’s sinking inexorably link together and worsen. As we anxiously watch the captain and his crew, the hurricane tightens like a noose around the ship and we see, minute to minute, all that is happening—the dangerous tilting to the port side, the frantic calls to the engine room, the ship-to-shore cries, the loss of propulsion, the courage of the men and women as they fight for survival, and the berserk ocean’s savage consumption of the massive hull. And through it all, the pain and ultimate resilience of the families of El Faro’s crew… Foy’s account includes maps, photographs, and the voices of the doomed crew as they respond to the mounting danger. Meticulous and absolutely thrilling, Run the Storm is a masterwork of stunning power.