Top positive review
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This is the Most Authoritative, Best Written and Most Interesting of All Textbooks on the Subject
on January 8, 2013
Choosing a textbook for a course is not usually an easy task -- one must sift through the less substantial books to identify the best available by content, difficulty, readability, extras, etc. Every once in a while authors write a textbook that is outstanding in most respects -- in this case the authors nailed it! They provide excellent coverage of national security, natural and other threats and hazards that face the United States and the many organizations and their responsibilities that respond to them -- the most important being the Department of Homeland Security and its many constituent parts. For completeness and accuracy in content this book is excellent. But be prepared for a cornucopia of very detailed and mundane information -- after all, this is a textbook/reference.
The organizational landscape of homeland security -- the structures, roles and relationships of the federal, state, tribal and local entities -- are covered in sufficient detail to provide students with an excellent appreciation of the subject. Not a defect of the book but rather its nature is that it describes how the management and responses to emergencies should be handled, and not so much the actual practice though there are some sections illustrating contemporary responses to disasters interspersed throughout the text.
The authors have some definite points of view and I believe that is actually another strength of the book. For example, regarding the creation and original organization of the Department of Homeland Security the authors correctly identify the enfeeblement and defunding of the previously independent FEMA with its predictable and subsequent dire results. Though the U.S.Congress passed post-Katrina legislation to correct the lessened emphasis on natural hazards -- and DHS itself now voices an "all hazards" approach -- whether DHS is the best organizational framework for what are its constituent pieces is not yet clear in my opinion and that of many others. The authors discuss these points and, when relevant, the politics and history of each of the hazards. Even though their points of view are pretty clearly discerned they fairly present the issues and context.
Whether you are looking for a textbook or a reference book then this is the one you should seriously consider purchasing. The two principal authors were long-time FEMA employees who are now industry consultants -- the four authors did an excellent job on this effort.