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The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America [NOOK Book]


This book traces the intertwined histories of disaster experts—specialists in predicting the unpredictable and managing the unmanageable—revealing how their interdisciplinary research and practices over the past century have shaped modern America.

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The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America

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This book traces the intertwined histories of disaster experts—specialists in predicting the unpredictable and managing the unmanageable—revealing how their interdisciplinary research and practices over the past century have shaped modern America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Shows how a cadre of professionals—engineers, scientists, journalists, insurance inspectors, public officials, civil defense planners and emergency managers—have ill-prepared us for disasters from 9/11 to Katrina."—Washington Post

"This marvelous book offers a gripping analysis of American disaster expertise over the last 150 years. . . . A powerful, eminently readable book that belongs on undergraduate and graduate syllabi in the history of science and technology—and, indeed, in the library of every educated citizen."—Isis

"Knowles adroitly chronicles in fine historical detail the emergence of the experts (and their intellectual disciplines) who worked to understand and mitigate the constantly changing human and technological landscapes of urban risk."—Choice

"In The Disaster Experts, Scott Knowles makes a key contribution to our understanding of how American disaster policy has evolved over time. This book is a way to appreciate at a deeper level why and how Americans are prepared in some ways, and profoundly unprepared in others, for the disasters to come in the twenty-first century."—James Lee Witt, Chief Executive Officer, Witt Associates, and FEMA Director, 1993-2001

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812207996
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/2/2012
  • Series: City in the Twenty-First Century
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 360
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Scott Gabriel Knowles is Associate Professor of History and Politics at Drexel College and Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Pennoni Honors College. He is also editor of Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1 The Devil's Privilege
2 Reforming Fire
3 The Invisible Screen of Safety
4 Ten to Twenty Million Killed, Tops
5 What Is a Disaster?
6 A Nation of Hazards


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