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American Disasters: 201 Calamities That Shook the Nation Paperback – July 1, 2008
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About the Author
Ballard C. Campbell, Ph.D, is professor of history and professor of public policy in the Law, Policy, and Society program at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is president of the New England Historical Association and the author of numerous books, including Representative Democracy: Public Policy and Midwestern Legislatures in the Late Nineteenth Century and The Human Tradition in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He has coedited the highly acclaimed American Presidential Campaigns and Elections. Campbell has also served as associate editor of American National Biography, and as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.
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Top Customer Reviews
In any case, "American Disasters" consists of a series of well-written essays, each exploring a single event in just a few pages. Each essay is accompanied by a "factbox" that summarizes the significance of the event and its impact. The book includes a thorough bibiliography, a chronological table of contents, and a topical table of contents. Each chapter ends with suggestions for further reading about the disaster or crisis being discussed.
"American Disasters" can be used as a reference work or as a cover-to-cover read. I especially liked the way the chapter authors stress the impact of each event--how it resulted in changes in policy, regulation or scientific understanding--rather than just dwelling on the horror of the event itself.
Of course, one can quibble about what is included in the book, as well as about what isn't. Hurrican Camille, for example, is conspicuously missing. And not surprisingly, given the title, the book focuses on uniquely American disasters--events with an international dimension, like the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, the AIDS epidemic, and the sinking of the Titanic, are examined only insofar as they affect American history. That said, "American Disasters" is a thorough exposition of the topic, and it deserves a place on the shelf of any student of American history.