Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America

Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America

by Ted Steinberg
     
 

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"With the exception of the 9/11 disaster, the top ten most costly catastrophes in U.S. history have all been natural disasters—five of them hurricanes—and all have occurred since 1989. Why this tremendous plague on our homes? In Acts of God, environmental historian Ted Steinberg explains that much of the death and destruction has been well within the realm

Overview

"With the exception of the 9/11 disaster, the top ten most costly catastrophes in U.S. history have all been natural disasters—five of them hurricanes—and all have occurred since 1989. Why this tremendous plague on our homes? In Acts of God, environmental historian Ted Steinberg explains that much of the death and destruction has been well within the realm of human control. Steinberg exposes the fallacy of seeing such calamities as simply random events. Beginning with the 1886 Charleston and 1906 San Francisco earthquakes, and continuing to the present, Steinberg explores the unnatural history of natural calamity, the decisions of business leaders and government officials that have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows—America's poor, elderly, and minorities. Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg argues, has helped to hide the fact that some Americans are better protected from the violence of nature than their counterparts lower down the socioeconomic ladder. Sure to provoke discussion, Acts of God is a call to action that must be heard. ""A sobering lesson in humanity's vulnerability to extreme climatic events, especially the impoverished farmer and the urban poor.""—The Los Angeles Times Book Review"

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A sobering lesson in humanity's vulnerability to extreme climatic events, especially the impoverished farmer and the urban poor."—The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Steinberg has an unabashedly political agenda in this work, but that does not interfere with him making a powerful point concerning the economics of disaster preparation and recovery...This is an insightful work that raises serious questions about who really directs our philosophy of disaster preparedness."—Booklist

"Powerfully argued and forcefully written.... Good old-fashioned, hard-headed scholarship, which confirms that some of the most savage critics of capitalism in US academia today are environmental historians."—The Times Literary Supplement

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199838998
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/20/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Ted Steinberg teaches history at Case Western Reserve University and is the author of Down to Earth: Nature's Role in American History and American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn. His essays have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Natural History, and The New York Times.

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