Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America
By Ted Steinberg
Why this book?
Back when people understood hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters as literally being "acts of God," they sensibly concluded that human intervention could not prevent them. Yet that language—and its wide-ranging implications for public policy—has persisted, even as scientists have come to understand the physical causes of disasters and, increasingly, to believe that no disaster is wholly "natural." Ted Steinberg shows how government and corporate leaders' perpetuation of the idea of disasters as "natural" or even divinely ordained helps them to evade responsibility and avoid meaningful policy changes that might prevent future catastrophes. (Ripped from the headlines, climate change denial is a prime example!) Gripping case studies of famous disasters like the Chicago Fire and the San Francisco earthquake make this serious book a compelling read.
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