Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America

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Oxford University Press, Oct 12, 2000 - History - 320 pages
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With the exception of the 9/11 disaster, the top ten most costly catastrophes in U.S. history have all been natural disasters--five of them hurricanes--and all have occurred since 1989. Why this tremendous plague on our homes? In Acts of God, environmental historian Ted Steinberg explains that much of the death and destruction has been well within the realm of human control. Steinberg exposes the fallacy of seeing such calamities as simply random events. Beginning with the 1886 Charleston and 1906 San Francisco earthquakes, and continuing to the present, Steinberg explores the unnatural history of natural calamity, the decisions of business leaders and government officials that have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows--America's poor, elderly, and minorities. Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg argues, has helped to hide the fact that some Americans are better protected from the violence of nature than their counterparts lower down the socioeconomic ladder. Sure to provoke discussion, Acts of God is a call to action that must be heard.

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About the author (2000)

Ted Steinberg is one of the leading young environmental historians writing today and the author of Slide Mountain, Or the Folly of Owning Nature. He is also Professor of History and Law at Case Western Reserve University.

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