Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender, and the Sociology of Disasters

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Walter Gillis Peacock, Betty Hearn Morrow, Hugh Gladwin
Routledge, 1997 - Social Science - 277 pages
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Hurricane Andrew has proved to be the most costly natural disaster in US history. This book documents how Miami prepared, coped and responded to the hurricane which slammed into one of the largest and most ethnically diverse metropolitan areas of the United States. With estimated winds of 145mph, the area's infrastructure was laid to waste - nearly all public buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Approximately 49,000 private homes were rendered uninhabitable, leaving more than 180,000 people homeless. Total losses were in excess of $28 billion. This book explores how social, economic and political factors set the stage for Hurricane Andrew by influencing who was prepared, who was hit the hardest, and who was most likely to recover. Disasters are often seen as natural physical phenomena that impact our communities in impartial ways. As a result, the damage they inflict and the difficulties experienced in recovering are simply seen as a function of the strength of the agent itself and where it happens to hit the hardest. But disasters are inherently social events.

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Excellent resource for students of an interdisciplinary "bent" - sociology/ geography/ social psychology. I disagree with the apparent over use of "overly proper" words. Many terms exist so as to give even a broad definition some meaning. Technical words are paramount when grappling with complex issues - and I think the authors show a deft hand at explaining the ever-complex sociology of disasters. Even as time has passed since Hurricane Andrew, modes of social identification such as gender, class, and ethnicity are still slow to be embraced throughout disaster response and recovery policies. Great, thought-provoking work. 

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overall....it is a good book/ but i think he could have summarized some things and not used so many "overly proper" words...

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About the author (1997)

Florida International University

Morrow is Associate professor of Sociology and a research associate of the International Hurricane Center at Florida International University.

Florida International University

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