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This second edition of Davis's 2002 work provides nearly 500 entries on natural disasters, almost 50 of them new and others updated. It covers avalanches and landslides, earthquakes, famines and droughts, plagues and epidemics, cyclones, hurricanes, ice storms and snowstorms, tornadoes, and typhoons. It is organized by type of disaster, and each section includes a list of the disasters by geographical location, a chronology of these events, and an introduction to the type of disaster. Each entry begins with a short description of the disaster followed by a more in-depth recitation, the human toll and consequences, and the disaster's significance. Such entries span a few brief paragraphs to several pages, with most being under a page. The 80 scattered black-and-white photos are of poor quality, which might be understandable for the reproduction of some historic photos but not for recent ones. Even the 20 color photos appear overexposed. The writing can sometimes be quirky (e.g., one wonders why one billion is written as 1,000 million in the entry on avian flu?), but there is also frank discussion of political issues on such topics as the responses to the AIDS and SARS epidemics and Hurricane Katrina. The text is appropriately written for the target audience of middle and high school students, and the new entries on Katrina, Tropical Storm Erin, the Sumatran earthquake and subsequent tsunami, SARS, and the mudslide on the island of Leyte in the Philippines may be enough to justify purchasing this updated edition for libraries that found the first edition popular. Although information on various disasters is readily available on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's"Extreme Weather and Climate Events" or National Geographic's "Natural Disasters" web pages, the bibliography and list of web sites will be helpful research tools.
—Rosanne M. Cordell