Some of the most striking news stories from natural disasters are of animals tied to trees or cats swimming through murky flood waters. Although the issue of evacuating pets has gained more attention in recent disasters, there are still many failures throughout local and national systems of managing pets and accommodating animals in emergencies.
All Creatures Safe and Sound is a comprehensive study of what goes wrong in our disaster response that shows how people can better manage pets in emergencies—from the household level to the large-scale, national level. Authors Sarah DeYoung and Ashley Farmer offer practical disaster preparedness tips while they address the social complexities that affect disaster management and animal rescue. They track the developments in the management of pets since Hurricane Katrina, including an analysis of the 2006 PETS Act, which dictates that animals should be included in hazard and disaster planning. Other chapters focus on policies in place for sheltering and evacuation, coalitions for animal welfare and the prevention of animal cruelty, organizational coordination, decision-making, preparedness, the role of social media in animal rescue and response, and how privilege and power shape disaster experiences and outcomes.
Using data they collected from seven major recent American disasters, ranging from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Florence to the Camp, Tubbs, and Carr Fires in California and the Hawaii Lava Flow, the authors provide insights about the successes and failures of animal care. All Creatures Safe and Sound also outlines what still needs to change to best prepare for the safety and welfare of pets, livestock, and other companion animals in times of crisis.
When the terrorist attacks struck New York City on September 11, 2001, boat operators and waterfront workers quickly realized that they had the skills, the equipment, and the opportunity to take definite, immediate action in responding to the most significant destructive event in the United States in decades. For many of them, they were “doing what needed to be done.”
American Dunkirk shows how people, many of whom were volunteers, mobilized rescue efforts in various improvised and spontaneous ways on that fateful date. Disaster experts James Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf examine the efforts through fieldwork and interviews with many of the participants to understand the evacuation and its larger implications for the entire practice of disaster management.
The authors ultimately explore how people—as individuals, groups, and formal organizations—pull together to respond to and recover from startling, destructive events. American Dunkirk asks, What can these people and lessons teach us about not only surviving but thriving in the face of calamity?
When houses are flattened, towns submerged, and people stranded without electricity or even food, we attribute the suffering to “natural disasters” or “acts of God.” But what if they’re neither? What if we, as a society, are bringing these catastrophes on ourselves?
That’s the provocative theory of Catastrophe in the Making, the first book to recognize Hurricane Katrina not as a “perfect storm,” but a tragedy of our own making—and one that could become commonplace.
The authors, one a longtime New Orleans resident, argue that breached levees and sloppy emergency response are just the most obvious examples of government failure. The true problem is more deeply rooted and insidious, and stretches far beyond the Gulf Coast.
Based on the false promise of widespread prosperity, communities across the U.S. have embraced all brands of “economic development” at all costs. In Louisiana, that meant development interests turning wetlands into shipping lanes. By replacing a natural buffer against storm surges with a 75-mile long, obsolete canal that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, they guided the hurricane into the heart of New Orleans and adjacent communities. The authors reveal why, despite their geographic differences, California and Missouri are building—quite literally—toward similar destruction.
Too often, the U.S. “growth machine” generates wealth for a few and misery for many. Drawing lessons from the most expensive “natural” disaster in American history, Catastrophe in the Making shows why thoughtless development comes at a price we can ill afford.
From 9/11 to Katrina, from Darfur to the Minnesota bridge collapse, ours is an "age of catastrophe." In this era, catastrophic events seem to have a revelatory quality: they offer powerful reminders of the fragility of our social and institutional architectures, making painfully evident vulnerabilities in our social organization that were otherwise invisible. By disrupting the operation of fundamental mechanisms and infrastructures of the social order, they lay bare the conditions that make our sense of normalcy possible.
At a time when societies are directing an unprecedented level of resources and ingenuity to anticipating and mitigating catastrophic events, Catastrophe: Law, Politics, and the Humanitarian Impulse examines the tests that catastrophe poses to politics and humanitarianism as well as to the law. It explores legal, political, and humanitarian responses during times when the sudden, discontinuous, and disastrous event has become, perhaps paradoxically, a structural component of our political imagination. It asks whether law, politics, and humanitarianism live up to the tests posed by disaster, and the role all of them play in creating a more resilient world.
Taken together the essays in this book ask us to see through and beyond the myths that surround catastrophe and our responses to it. They ask us to rethink our understanding of catastrophe and to imagine new legal, political, and humanitarian responses.
In addition to the editors, contributors include Thomas Birkland, Michele Landis Dauber, Kim Fortun, Edward Rackley, Peter Redfield, Peter H. Schuck, and Susan Sterett.
In the wake of severe climatic events and terrorist acts, and the emergence of dangerous technologies, communities, nations, and global organizations have diligently sought to create strategies to prepare for such events. Designing Resilience presents case studies of extreme events and analyzes the ability of affected individuals, institutions, governments, and technological systems to cope with disaster.
This volume defines resilience as it relates to disaster management at specific stages: mitigation, prevention, preparation, and response and recovery. The book illustrates models by which to evaluate resilience at levels ranging from individuals to NGOs to governmental jurisdictions and examines how resilience can be developed and sustained. A group or nation’s ability to withstand events and emerge from them with their central institutions intact is at the core of resilience. Quality of response, capacity to improvise, coordination, flexibility, and endurance are also determinants. Individual case studies, including Hurricane Katrina in the United States, the London bombings, and French preparedness for the Avian flu, demonstrate effective and ineffective strategies.
The contributors reveal how the complexity and global interconnectivity of modern systems—whether they are governments, mobile populations, power grids, financial systems, or the Internet—have transcended borders and created a new level of exposure that has made them especially vulnerable to extreme events. Yet these far-reaching global systems also possess the ability to alert and respond at greater speeds than ever before.
The authors analyze specific characteristics of resilient systems—the qualities they possess and how they become resilient—to determine if there are ways to build a system of resilience from the ground up. As such, Designing Resilience will inform a broad range of students and scholars in areas of public administration, public policy, and the social sciences.
For almost a decade, economists Kevin M. Simmons and Daniel Sutter have been studying the economic impacts and social consequences of the approximately 1,200 tornadoes that touch down across the United States annually. During this time, Simmons and Sutter have been compiling information from sources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Census in order to examine the casualties caused by tornadoes and to evaluate the National Weather Service’s efforts to reduce these casualties. In Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes, Simmons and Sutter present their findings. This analysis will be extremely useful to anyone studying meteorology and imperative for anyone working in emergency disaster management.
Security and risk have become central to how cities are planned, built, governed, and inhabited in the twenty-first century. In Endangered City, Austin Zeiderman focuses on this new political imperative to govern the present in anticipation of future harm. Through ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Bogotá, Colombia, he examines how state actors work to protect the lives of poor and vulnerable citizens from a range of threats, including environmental hazards and urban violence. By following both the governmental agencies charged with this mandate and the subjects governed by it, Endangered City reveals what happens when logics of endangerment shape the terrain of political engagement between citizens and the state. The self-built settlements of Bogotá’s urban periphery prove a critical site from which to examine the rising effect of security and risk on contemporary cities and urban life.
The Era of Great Disasters examines modern disaster response in Japan, from the changing earthquake preparations and regulations, to immediate emergency procedures from the national, prefectural, and city levels, and finally the evolving efforts of rebuilding and preparing for the next great disaster in the hopes of minimizing their tragic effects. This book focuses on three major earthquakes from Japan’s modern history. The first is the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which struck the capital region. The second is the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, affecting the area between Kobe and Osaka. The third is the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region, causing a devastating tsunami and nuclear accident. While the events of (and around) each of these earthquakes are unique, Professor Iokibe brings his deep expertise and personal experience to each disaster, unveiling not only the disasters themselves but the humanity underneath. In each case, he gives attention and gratitude to those who labored to save lives and restore the communities affected, from the individuals on the scene to government officials and military personnel and emergency responders, in the hope that we might learn from the past and move forward with greater wisdom, knowledge, and common purpose.
As Hurricane Katrina vividly revealed, disaster policy in the United States is broken and needs reform. What can we learn from past disasters—storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and wildfires—about preparing for and responding to future catastrophes? How can these lessons be applied in a future threatened by climate change?
In this bold contribution to environmental law, Robert Verchick argues for a new perspective on disaster law that is based on the principles of environmental protection. His prescription boils down to three simple commands: Go Green, Be Fair, and Keep Safe. “Going green” means minimizing exposure to hazards by preserving natural buffers and integrating those buffers into artificial systems like levees or seawalls. “Being fair” means looking after public health, safety, and the environment without increasing personal and social vulnerabilities. “Keeping safe” means a more cautionary approach when confronting disaster risks.
Verchick argues that government must assume a stronger regulatory role in managing natural infrastructure, distributional fairness, and public risk. He proposes changes to the federal statutes governing environmental impact assessments, wetlands development, air emissions, and flood control, among others. Making a strong case for more transparent governmental decision-making, Verchick offers a new vision of disaster law for the next generation.
Winner of the Florida Historical Society's 2015 Stetson Kennedy Award
The 1980 Mariel Boatlift was a profound episode in twentieth-century American history, impacting not just Florida, but the entire country. During the first twenty days of the boatlift, with little support from the federal government, the state of Florida coordinated and responded to the sudden arrival in Key West of more than thirty thousand Cuban refugees, the first wave of immigrants who became known as “Marielitos.”
Kathleen Dupes Hawk, Ron Villella, Adolfo Leyva de Varona, and Kristen Cifers combine the insights of expert observers with the experiences of actual participants. The authors organize and present a wealth of primary sources, first-hand accounts, archival research, government records, and interviews with policy-makers, volunteers, and refugees that bring into focus the many far-reaching human, political, and cultural outcomes of the Mariel Boatlift that continue to influence Florida, the United States, and Cuba today.
Emerging from these key records and accounts is a grand narrative of high human drama. Castro’s haphazard and temporary opening of Cuba spurred many thousands of Cubans to depart in calamitously rushed, unprepared, and dangerous conditions. The book tells the stories of these Cuban citizens, most legitimately seeking political asylum but also including subversive agents, convicted criminals, and the mentally ill, who began arriving in the US beginning in April 1980. It also recounts how local and state agencies and private volunteers with few directives or resources were left to improvise ways to provide the Marielitos food, shelter, and security as well as transportation away from Key West.
The book provides a definitive account of the political, legal, and administrative twists on the local, state, and federal levels in response to the crisis as well as of the often-dysfunctional attempts at collaboration between governmental and private institutions. Vivid and readable, Florida and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 presents the significant details that illuminate and humanize this complex humanitarian, political, and logistical crisis.
In The Future of Fallout, and Other Episodes in Radioactive World-Making Joseph Masco examines the strange American intimacy with and commitment to existential danger. Tracking the simultaneous production of nuclear emergency and climate disruption since 1945, he focuses on the psychosocial accommodations as well as the technological revolutions that have produced these linked planetary-scale disasters. Masco assesses the memory practices, visual culture, concepts of danger, and toxic practices that, in combination, have generated a U.S. national security culture that promises ever more safety and comfort in everyday life but does so only by generating and deferring a vast range of violences into the collective future. Interrogating how this existential lag (i.e., the material and conceptual fallout of the twentieth century in the form of nuclear weapons and petrochemical capitalism) informs life in the twenty-first century, Masco identifies key moments when other futures were still possible and seeks to activate an alternative, postnational security political imaginary in support of collective life today.
Security is a defining characteristic of our age and the driving force behind the management of collective political, economic, and social life. Directed at safeguarding society against future peril, security is often thought of as the hard infrastructures and invisible technologies assumed to deliver it: walls, turnstiles, CCTV cameras, digital encryption, and the like. The contributors to Futureproof redirect this focus, showing how security is a sensory domain shaped by affect and image as much as rules and rationalities. They examine security as it is lived and felt in domains as varied as real estate listings, active-shooter drills, border crossings, landslide maps, gang graffiti, and museum exhibits to theorize how security regimes are expressed through aesthetic forms. Taking a global perspective with studies ranging from Jamaica to Jakarta and Colombia to the U.S.-Mexico border, Futureproof expands our understanding of the security practices, infrastructures, and technologies that pervade everyday life.
Contributors. Victoria Bernal, Jon Horne Carter, Alexandra Demshock, Zaire Z. Dinzey-Flores, Didier Fassin, D. Asher Ghertner, Daniel M. Goldstein, Rachel Hall, Rivke Jaffe, Ieva Jusionyte, Catherine Lutz, Alejandra Leal Martínez, Hudson McFann, Limor Samimian-Darash, AbdouMaliq Simone, Austin Zeiderman
Even before the wreckage of a disaster is cleared, one question is foremost in the minds of the public: "What can be done to prevent this from happening again?" Today, news media and policymakers often invoke the "lessons of September 11" and the "lessons of Hurricane Katrina." Certainly, these unexpected events heightened awareness about problems that might have contributed to or worsened the disasters, particularly about gaps in preparation. Inquiries and investigations are made that claim that "lessons" were "learned" from a disaster, leading us to assume that we will be more ready the next time a similar threat looms, and that our government will put in place measures to protect us.
In Lessons of Disaster, Thomas Birkland takes a critical look at this assumption. We know that disasters play a role in setting policy agendas—in getting policymakers to think about problems—but does our government always take the next step and enact new legislation or regulations? To determine when and how a catastrophic event serves as a catalyst for true policy change, the author examines four categories of disasters: aviation security, homeland security, earthquakes, and hurricanes. He explores lessons learned from each, focusing on three types of policy change: change in the larger social construction of the issues surrounding the disaster; instrumental change, in which laws and regulations are made; and political change, in which alliances are created and shifted. Birkland argues that the type of disaster affects the types of lessons learned from it, and that certain conditions are necessary to translate awareness into new policy, including media attention, salience for a large portion of the public, the existence of advocacy groups for the issue, and the preexistence of policy ideas that can be drawn upon.
This timely study concludes with a discussion of the interplay of multiple disasters, focusing on the initial government response to Hurricane Katrina and the negative effect the September 11 catastrophe seems to have had on reaction to that tragedy.
This book reflects an important shift in society's definition of disaster. For centuries catastrophic events have been considered "acts of God" and therefore uncontrollable by definition. Managing Disaster is international in scope, covering such natural and man-made calamities as tornadoes in western Pennsylvania, earthquakes in Peru, flooding in the Netherlands, and toxic waste disasters.
Centers for hazard studies have only recently examined the interrelated aspects of disastrous events and recognized the interaction between natural hazards and human systems. As society attempts to acquire the information and develop the skills to reduce the risks and damage from disaster, an increasingly professional public service is reconsidering its strategies and policy direction. Managing Disaster addresses this problem and the need for a new approach to teaching this subject at the university level. Twenty-three professionals and scholars in public policy and administration—rom universities, government, and the private sector—examine the basic issues confronting managers and public agencies in the face of disaster.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, generated a great deal of discussion in public policy and disaster management circles about the importance of increasing national resilience to rebound from catastrophic events. Since the majority of physical and virtual networks that the United States relies upon are owned and operated by the private sector, a consensus has emerged that public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a crucial aspect of an effective resilience strategy. Significant barriers to cooperation persist, however, despite acknowledgment that public–private collaboration for managing disasters would be mutually beneficial.
Managing Disasters through Public–Private Partnerships constitutes the first in-depth exploration of PPPs as tools of disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and resilience in the United States. The author assesses the viability of PPPs at the federal level and explains why attempts to develop these partnerships have largely fallen short. The book assesses the recent history and current state of PPPs in the United States, with particular emphasis on the lessons of 9/11 and Katrina, and discusses two of the most significant PPPs in US history, the Federal Reserve System and the War Industries Board from World War I. The author develops two original frameworks to compare different kinds of PPPs and analyzes the critical factors that make them successes or failures, pointing toward ways to improve collaboration in the future.
This book should be of interest to researchers and students in public policy, public administration, disaster management, infrastructure protection, and security; practitioners who work on public–private partnerships; and corporate as well as government emergency management professionals and specialists.
Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is an ethnographic account of long-term recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is also a sobering exploration of the privatization of vital social services under market-driven governance. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, public agencies subcontracted disaster relief to private companies that turned the humanitarian work of recovery into lucrative business. These enterprises profited from the very suffering that they failed to ameliorate, producing a second-order disaster that exacerbated inequalities based on race and class and leaving residents to rebuild almost entirely on their own.
Filled with the often desperate voices of residents who returned to New Orleans, Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith describes the human toll of disaster capitalism and the affect economy it has produced. While for-profit companies delayed delivery of federal resources to returning residents, faith-based and nonprofit groups stepped in to rebuild, compelled by the moral pull of charity and the emotional rewards of volunteer labor. Adams traces the success of charity efforts, even while noting an irony of neoliberalism, which encourages the very same for-profit companies to exploit these charities as another market opportunity. In so doing, the companies profit not once but twice on disaster.
How does the government or a business plan for an unimaginable disaster-a meltdown at a nuclear power plant, a gigantic oil spill, or a nuclear attack? Lee Clarke examines actual attempts to "prepare" for these catastrophes and finds that the policies adopted by corporations and government agencies are fundamentally rhetorical: the plans have no chance to succeed, yet they serve both the organizations and the public as symbols of control, order, and stability. These "fantasy documents" attempt to inspire confidence in organizations, but for Clarke they are disturbing persuasions, soothing our perception that we ultimately cannot control our own technological advances.
For example, Clarke studies corporations' plans for cleaning up oil spills in Prince William Sound prior to the Exxon Valdez debacle, and he finds that the accepted strategies were not just unrealistic but completely untenable. Although different organizations were required to have a cleanup plan for huge spills in the sound, a really massive spill was unprecedented, and the accepted policy was little more than a patchwork of guesses based on (mostly unsuccessful) cleanups after smaller accidents.
While we are increasingly skeptical of big organizations, we still have no choice but to depend on them for protection from large-scale disasters. We expect their specialists to tell the truth, and yet, as Clarke points out, reassuring rhetoric (under the guise of expert prediction) may have no basis in fact or truth because no such basis is attainable.
In uncovering the dangers of planning when implementation is a fantasy, Clarke concludes that society would be safer, smarter, and fairer if organizations could admit their limitations.
"An incursion into new territory written with insight and flair, Clarke's book achieves a revolution in understanding plans as an organizational activity-how they come about, why they go awry, and the often-disastrous disconnect between plans and an organization's ability to carry them out. A book that will fascinate general readers, administrators, organization theorists, and disaster buffs, Mission Improbable stands as a valuable companion volume to Pressman and Wildavsky's Implementation."—Diane Vaughan, author of The Challenger Launch Decision
Katrina was not just a hurricane. The death, destruction, and misery wreaked on New Orleans cannot be blamed on nature’s fury alone. This volume of essays locates the root causes of the 2005 disaster squarely in neoliberal restructuring and examines how pro-market reforms are reshaping life, politics, economy, and the built environment in New Orleans.
The authors—a diverse group writing from the disciplines of sociology, political science, education, public policy, and media theory—argue that human agency and public policy choices were more at fault for the devastation and mass suffering experienced along the Gulf Coast than were sheer forces of nature. The harrowing images of flattened homes, citizens stranded on rooftops, patients dying in makeshift hospitals, and dead bodies floating in floodwaters exposed the moral and political contradictions of neoliberalism—the ideological rejection of the planner state and the active promotion of a new order of market rule.
Many of these essays offer critical insights on the saga of postdisaster reconstruction. Challenging triumphal narratives of civic resiliency and universal recovery, the authors bring to the fore pitched battles over labor rights, gender and racial justice, gentrification, the development of city master plans, the demolition of public housing, policing, the privatization of public schools, and roiling tensions between tourism-based economic growth and neighborhood interests. The contributors also expand and deepen more conventional critiques of “disaster capitalism” to consider how the corporate mobilization of philanthropy and public good will are remaking New Orleans in profound and pernicious ways.
Contributors: Barbara L. Allen, Virginia Polytechnic U; John Arena, CUNY College of Staten Island; Adrienne Dixson, Ohio State U; Eric Ishiwata, Colorado State U; Avis Jones-Deweever, National Council of Negro Women; Chad Lavin, Virginia Polytechnic U; Paul Passavant, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Linda Robertson, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Chris Russill, Carleton U; Kanchana Ruwanpura, U of Southampton; Nicole Trujillo-Pagán, Wayne State U; Geoffrey Whitehall, Acadia U.
Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and magnitude of coastal storms around the globe, and the anticipated rise of sea levels will have enormous impact on fragile and vulnerable coastal regions. In the U.S., more than 50% of the population inhabits coastal areas. In Planning for Coastal Resilience, Tim Beatley argues that, in the face of such threats, all future coastal planning and management must reflect a commitment to the concept of resilience. In this timely book, he writes that coastal resilience must become the primary design and planning principle to guide all future development and all future infrastructure decisions.
Resilience, Beatley explains, is a profoundly new way of viewing coastal infrastructure—an approach that values smaller, decentralized kinds of energy, water, and transport more suited to the serious physical conditions coastal communities will likely face. Implicit in the notion is an emphasis on taking steps to build adaptive capacity, to be ready ahead of a crisis or disaster. It is anticipatory, conscious, and intentional in its outlook.
After defining and explaining coastal resilience, Beatley focuses on what it means in practice. Resilience goes beyond reactive steps to prevent or handle a disaster. It takes a holistic approach to what makes a community resilient, including such factors as social capital and sense of place. Beatley provides case studies of five U.S. coastal communities, and “resilience profiles” of six North American communities, to suggest best practices and to propose guidelines for increasing resilience in threatened communities.
How can we plan and design stronger communities? From New Orleans to Galveston to the Jersey Shore, communities struck by natural disasters struggle to recover long after the first responders have left. Globally, the average annual number of natural disasters has more than doubled since 1980. These catastrophes are increasing in number as well as in magnitude, causing greater damage as we experience rising sea levels and other effects of climate change.
Communities can reduce their vulnerability to disaster by becoming more resilient—to not only bounce back more readily from disasters but to grow stronger, more socially cohesive, and more environmentally responsible. To be truly resilient, disaster preparation and response must consider all populations in the community. By bringing together natural hazards planning and community planning to consider vulnerabilities, more resilient and equitable communities are achievable.
In Planning for Community Resilience the authors describe an inclusive process for creating disaster-resilient communities. Based on their recovery work after Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas, they developed a process that relies on the Disaster Impacts Model. This handbook guides any community through the process of determining their level of hazard exposure, physical vulnerability, and social vulnerability with the goal of determining the best planning strategy.
Planning for Community Resilience will be invaluable to professionals working to protect their community from disturbance, including city planners, elected officials, floodplain managers, natural hazard managers, planning commissioners, local business leaders, and citizen organizers.
When natural disasters and emergencies strike, the short- and long-term effects of these events on first responders—the very people society relies upon in the midst of a catastrophe—are often overlooked. Policing in Natural Disasters provides a comprehensive analysis of the major challenges faced by law enforcement officers during extreme crisis events. Terri Adams and Leigh Anderson examine the dilemmas police departments face as well as the impact of the disasters on the professional and personal lives of the officers. Case studies explore the response and recovery phases of emergencies including Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Santiago, Chile, and the Superstorm Tornado Outbreak in 2011.
Policing in Natural Disasters was inspired by the personal accounts of triumph and tragedy shared by first responders. It provides an understanding of first-responder behaviors during disasters, as well as the preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery policy implications for first responders and emergency managers. As first responders must frequently cope with stress, uncertainty, and threats to their health and safety during high-consequence events, Adams and Anderson provide lessons from first-hand experiences of police officers that can lead to better management in times of crisis.
Al Qaeda detonates a nuclear weapon in Times Square during rush hour, wiping out half of Manhattan and killing 500,000 people. A virulent strain of bird flu jumps to humans in Thailand, sweeps across Asia, and claims more than fifty million lives. A single freight car of chlorine derails on the outskirts of Los Angeles, spilling its contents and killing seven million. An asteroid ten kilometers wide slams into the Atlantic Ocean, unleashing a tsunami that renders life on the planet as we know it extinct.
We consider the few who live in fear of such scenarios to be alarmist or even paranoid. But Worst Cases shows that such individuals—like Cassandra foreseeing the fall of Troy—are more reasonable and prescient than you might think. In this book, Lee Clarke surveys the full range of possible catastrophes that animate and dominate the popular imagination, from toxic spills and terrorism to plane crashes and pandemics. Along the way, he explores how the ubiquity of worst cases in everyday life has rendered them ordinary and mundane. Fear and dread, Clarke argues, have actually become too rare: only when the public has more substantial information and more credible warnings will it take worst cases as seriously as it should.
A timely and necessary look into how we think about the unthinkable, Worst Cases will be must reading for anyone attuned to our current climate of threat and fear.