Disaster and Human History

Case Studies in Nature, Society and Catastrophe, 2d ed.

Second Edition

$39.95

In stock

About the Book

Human history is periodically punctuated by natural disasters, from Vesuvius’ eruption to the modern-day COVID-19 pandemic. Volcanoes have buried entire cities, earthquakes have reduced structures to smoldering ruins. Floods and cyclones have wreaked havoc on river valleys and coastlines, and desertification and climate change have weakened society’s underpinnings. Death tolls are often escalated by starvation and illness, which frequently occur in tandem.
This second edition assesses natural disasters on human society and the effect of strategies developed to reduce their impact. This book addresses the interconnectivity of disaster and human responsibility through 23 updated case studies, including a new chapter on the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami and the ensuing Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Benjamin Reilly is an environmental historian working at Carnegie Mellon University’s branch campus in Qatar. His publications have included French Revolutionary ideological discourse, information on lactose tolerance amongst Arabian Bedouins, and Europe’s long engagement with the Eternal City of Rome. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Benjamin Reilly
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 457
Bibliographic Info: 134 photos, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8809-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4689-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction 1
1. A Brief History of the Modern World 11
2. Volcanoes 34
2.1: Krakatau, 1883 47
2.2: Mount Pelée, 1902 58
2.3: Mount Pinatubo, 1991 69
3. Earthquakes 80
3.1: Messina Strait, 1908 95
3.2: Great Kanto Earthquake, 1923 104
3.3: Kashmir Earthquake, 2005 117
4. Environmental Changes 126
4.1: El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) 138
4.2: Desertification 147
4.3: Global Warming 161
5. Tropical Cyclones 181
5.1: Great Bhola Cyclone, 1970 196
5.2: Cyclone Tracy, 1974 209
5.3: Hurricane Andrew, 1992 219
6. Floods and Tsunamis 234
6.1: Yellow River Flooding, 19th and 20th Century China 248
6.2: Flooding Caused by the Asian Tsunami, 2004 261
6.3: Flooding Caused by Hurricane Katrina, 2005 273
6.4: The Tōhoku Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster 285
7. Famines 298
7.1: The Irish Potato Famine, 1846–1852 313
7.2: Mao’s Great Leap Forward 324
7.3: Famine in Ethiopia, 1973–Present 336
8. Disease 345
8.1: Disease of Agriculture: Pellagra 366
8.2: Disease of Imperialism: Malaria 377
8.3: Disease of Industry: Cholera 391
8.4: Disease of Globalization: AIDS 406
Conclusion 422
Bibliography 431
Index 441

Book Reviews & Awards

Reviews of the first edition:

• “A very usable environmental manual…writing is engaging…could be a valuable resource…significantly relevant”—Teaching History: A Journal of Methods

• “A very enjoyable read, offering the tension and drama these hazards deserve.”—Natural Hazards Observer