Gr 5-8-Patterned and packaged alike, and with introductions that are mostly boilerplate, these profiles of various 20th-century disasters offer utilitarian discussions of causes, effects, and aftermaths, backed up with chronologies, tables of similar catastrophes up to late 2004, and resource lists. All but the San Francisco earthquake occurred within the past 25 years, and all have occasioned widespread environmental impact-whether temporary, as with Mount St. Helens, or potentially long lasting in the case of Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez spill. All five authors analyze the role of people, both in contributing to and recovering from disaster. Harper and Worth, in particular, sound cautionary notes--timely ones, in light of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita-about our continuing vulnerability to hurricanes and earthquakes in this country. Disaster buffs will be drawn to more encyclopedic titles, such as Keith Eastlake's World Disasters (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001), but despite writing that is as ordinary as the occasional, murky black-and-white photos, these titles are acceptable as updates or replacements for older titles.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.