With the exception of the 9/11 disaster, the top ten most costly catastrophes in U.S. history have all been natural disasters–five of them hurricanes–and all have occurred since 1989. Why this tremendous plague on our homes? In Acts of God , environmental historian Ted Steinberg explains that much of the death and destruction has been well within the realm of human control. Natural Disaster Steinberg exposes the fallacy of seeing such calamities as simply random events.
Beginning with the 1886 Charleston and 1906 San Francisco earthquakes, and continuing to the present, Steinberg explores the unnatural history of natural calamity, the decisions of business leaders and government officials that have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows–America’s poor, elderly, and minorities.
Natural Disaster Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg argues, has helped to hide the fact that some Americans are better protected from the violence of nature than their counterparts lower down the socioeconomic ladder. Natural Disaster Sure to provoke discussion, Acts of God is a call to action that must be heard. “A sobering lesson in humanity’s vulnerability to extreme climatic events, especially the impoverished farmer and the urban poor.”–The Los Angeles Times Book Review. Natural Disaster