The list author says: "No matter how much or vehemently we may deny it, we have always been fascinated by natural and man-made fatalities and disasters. The unpredictablity of natural disasters serve to drive us out of our normally complacent view of life, and sometimes force us to change our own lives, hopefully for the better. These are my favorite books on this topic."
"The sense of impending doom was so vivid that I had to stop reading this book before bedtime because it wouldn’t let me sleep. The details of the survivors’ narratives are disturbing and unforgettable, including a father who tears his drowning daughter’s arms from around his neck so that he can live."
"According to the author, no one could have been prepared for the 1938 hurricane's speed and ferocity. Sweeping northward from Cape Hatteras, building tremendous momentum as it advanced, the storm raced over six hundred miles in only twelve hours. Another good book about the 'Long Island Express.'"
"The author really comes into stride when he draws from eye-witness accounts to describe the horrors that survivors had to endure, both during and after the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane in the Floriday Keys."
"This book captures both the science and the human anguish generated by this major hurricane. The authors track some of the survivors into the new Millennium, where the storm is still affecting their lives and their sleep."
"This book covers the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004 at both a macro and micro level, and succeeds in all respects. I was impressed with how much information the author was able to pack into a 127-page book meant for pre-teens, and still maintain a lucid and interesting narrative thread."
"Every science from dendrochronology to the study of glacial ice cores is cited by the author to support his contention that a massive eruption of Krakatoa caused the darkening of the sun and the ensuing climatic catastrophes of the sixth-century A.D. A fascinating history."
"This book is about large-scale human tragedies, including the eruption of Thera and its annihilation of Minoan civilization, the eruption of Vesuvius and the burial of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the sinking of the Titanic, and the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 09/11/2001."
"The volcano Mount Pelee, on the Caribbean island of Martinique did not behave according to scientific expectations. Almost 27,000 people died on the morning of May 8, 1902 because, according to this book's author, no one had ever heard of a nuee ardente (pyroclastic flow) until after the destruction of Saint-Pierre."
"Professor McGuire was one of our earliest scientific prophets of world-wide disaster. This book was published in 1999, and in it he concentrates on four catastrophes that could change our lives (or eliminate them, altogether) in the near future. He discusses the science and history behind each scenario, then uses his imagination to tell a story about a future occurrence:"
"Throughout history, varying responses to catastrophe have revealed much about a society's cultural and philosophical character. These essays concern the philosophers of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire and his reaction to the Great Lisbon Earthquake."
"There's lots of physics (and some biology, archeology, and sociology) in 'Perils' but it is all very clear and palatable. In fact, this book would make a good overview of science for high school students. It's got stories of volcanoes, plagues, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, asteroids, and poisonous lakes to hold the students' interest."
"The river that weaves through the story is of course, the Mississippi, and the author begins in the mid-1800s up through the great flood of 1927, and a few years beyond. He has some astounding history to tell us."
"Estimates of the number of dead from the 1979 Machhu dam break range from 1500 to 15000 people, but the focus of this book is quite rightly on the survivors. This devastating account of the 1979 dam collapse in Gujarat dwells within the context of the social history of 20th century India."
"David McCullough firmly embeds his devastating account of the Johnstown Flood in the social history of late 19th century America. He does a very good job in building up to the book's compelling climax, and when the dam above Johnstown finally gives way, you will already be on the edge of your reading chair."
"This is a horrifying, riveting true-crime book about The Station nightclub fire that will make you mad and sad, all the while teaching you how our legal system deals with crimes of stupidity, negligence and greed."
"The ultimate disaster book. The author does not rehash arguments for and against the reality of climate change. He assumes anthropogenic climate change is a fact and moves on to detail our vulnerability to the geological manifestations caused by the rapid warming of our planet. Very scary."
"Of all the books I've read recently, "In the Wake of the Plague" had the most power to place me in the middle of the action--in this case, in fourteenth-century England. In a sense, the experience was like watching a vivid, rather depressing movie where all of the main characters died of the plague."
"This book was published in 1980, the same year Mount St. Helens erupted with such catastrophic force. Geology Professor Leonard Palmer flew into the devastated area the following day and kept a journal of what he discovered."
"Not only is this 1982 Time-Life ‘Planet Earth’ book a good, concise history of weather forecasting, it also contains descriptions, photographs and diagrams of some of the most fearsome hurricanes, typhoons, blizzards, and tornadoes to have plagued the 20th Century. This is still one of the best introductions to meteorology I have read."
"This YA (Grades 8 - 12) book covers tornadoes, blizzards, floods, thunderstorms, droughts, and hurricanes. Each chapter starts out with an 'imagine this' which puts the reader into the scene. It is well worth reading, if you ignore some of dumbed-down language and the plethora of exclamation points."
"A fascinating glimpse of the research that has been done on an earthquake that struck the Northwest coast of America in 1700. This isn't an extended narrative, but a collection of photographs, diagrams and (mainly Japanese) reports on the earthquake and resulting tsunami."
"This Pocket book is fun to read but the authors, who originally published these stories in the 'National Enquirer' don't always quote their sources, so it is difficult to know whether to believe some of the material, especially when it involves flying saucers, ESP, or people with supernormal hearing, who can predict earthquakes and volcanoes."