Monday, October 18, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Disasters

Disasters: Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes Through the CenturiesDisasters: Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes Through the Centuries Brenda Z. Guiberson

Guiberson takes readers on a tour through 10* disasters, largely American, throughout history-- everything from the effects of smallpox on the new world** to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. While many disasters seem natural, Guiberson points out how they were also partially manmade (the Dust Bowl, the Johnstown Flood, Katrina)

Guiberson gives the reader background leading up to the disaster, a full account of the disaster itself, the aftermath, and also ties it in to life today. For instance, the section on the flu pandemic of 1918 contains information about Bird Flu (H5N1) why we worry about it today, and what we're doing about it-- paying close attention to direct applications of the lessons of 1918. Overall, her writing is clear and concise offering a great age-appropriate introduction to readers without dumping down the material or downplaying the horror or blame.

There are also a lot of visuals-- photos, drawings, and maps that add to the text. It would have been even better if the modern photos were in color (obviously, the ones on the San Fransisco Earthquake wouldn't be!) but that's a minor wish, not a criticism.

Overall, a great introduction to some major events in world history-- many of which happened in an instant and took years and decades to recover from.

*The two disasters I didn't manage to work into the review text: Chicago Fire and Titanic

**She gets props for including the information that once Europeans realized that Native Americans were extremely susceptible to smallpox, they used it as weapon to try and wipe out the population.

Round up is over at MotherReader. Be sure to check it out!

Book Provided by... my local library

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