13 November 2019

Book Review: A Century of Man-Made Disasters

Perhaps you recall where you were when you heard that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded shortly after takeoff. I do. I was in a budget meeting with the forerunner of the Canadian Space Agency. The assignment I was on was cancelled as it was realized space-related activities would be halted — it was well over two years until the next shuttle was launched.
Covered in this book, half photographs, half text, are 15 major man-made 20th-century calamities:

1. The ‘Unsinkable’ Titanic (1912)
2. Five-Train Catastrophe (1915)
3. Brought Down by Pride (1930)
4. End of a Nazi Dream (1937)
5. Nightmare in a Tunnel (1944)
6. Child Victims of Aberfan (1966)
7. Price of the Space Race (1960s)
8. Soccer’s Nightmares (1970S-1980S)
9. Town’s Cloud of Death (1976)
10. Jumbo Jets Collide (1977)
11. Shattered Dream of Space (1986)
12. The Nuclear Nightmare (1986)
13. Calamity in the Channel (1987)
14. Alaska’s Toxic Tragedy (1989)
15. Ferry Families’ Icy End (1994)

Like the Challenger and Titanic, some of these tragedies are household names ... Chernobyl (which Gorbachev cites as the trigger for the fall of the Soviet Union), Exxon Valdez, Hindenberg. Others, like Aberfan and the 1915 Quintinshill rail disaster are more memorable for the main UK readership of Pen and Sword publications. Certainly, there are other disasters, such as Bhopal, that caused greater loss of life than some of those included.
Author Nigel Blundell states these disasters were the result of either folly or greed – or both. Having described the circumstance he well documents the guilty, the grief and those who rose to the challenge of helping — sometimes at the cost of their own life or health.

Series: Images of the Past
Paperback: 160 pages, also available on Kindle.
Publisher: Pen and Sword History (January 19, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1526748681
ISBN-13: 978-1526748683
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches

This review is based on a copy provided by Pen and Sword.

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