Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Man-Made Disasters: Environmental, Nuclear, and Terror

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial
Since September 11th was the 13th anniversary of one of America's greatest  tragedies, I thought I'd highlight the books and authors that are part of a genre called disaster books.  The definition according to Wikipedia is:

"Disaster books are a literary genre involving detailed descriptions of major historical disasters, often based on the historical records or personal testimonies of survivors. Since reportage of both natural disasters and man-made disasters is commonplace, authors tend to be journalists who develop their news reports into books."

This final week we will be covering more man-made disasters.  


Bhopal Chemical Leak--Bhopal, India--Dec 3, 1984--3, 828 dead--worst industrial accident in history--around 1 am at the Union Carbide plant, forty tons of deadly MIC gas was released in a cloud that spread over 15 square miles, killing victims in their sleep--lies, misinformation, and under equipped medical facilities led to even more deaths--today it is estimated that 10-15 people die each day from chemical exposure in the areas surrounding the plant.

--Chemical Accident by Alex Woolf

--Catastrophe: the 100 Greatest Disasters of All Time by Stephen J. Spignesi

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill--Prince William Sound, Alaska--March 24, 1989--after running aground on a reef, 10.8 million gallons of oil spread over 11,000 square miles--$3-$8 billion in losses--it is considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters in history--25 years later, marine life is still dying and Exxon still owes Alaska $92 million in settlement money.

--The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill by Peter Benoit

--Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill by Riki Ott

Gulf Oil Disaster/Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill--Gulf of Mexico near the Mississippi River Delta, USA--Apr 20, 2010-Jul 15, 2010--a gas explosion killed 11 crew and spilled 210 million gallons of oil over 68,000 square miles--dolphins and marine life are still dying in record numbers--health consequences for marine life and humans may last generations--as of Sep 2014, BP was found primarily negligent and reckless--with billions owed in settlements and fines, the company's future remains unknown.

--Fire on the Horizon: the Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster by John Konrad

--Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster by Abraham Lustgarten


Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident--Middletown, PA--Mar 28, 1979--$1.1 billion in damages--the worst nuclear power plant accident in US history--radiation was released into the air but caused no deaths--took 11 years and $973 million to clean up--it is still to early to know the full impact on the environment and population in the surrounding areas.

--Three Mile Island: Thirty Minutes to Meltdown by Daniel F. Ford

--Three Mile Island: a Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective by J. Samuel Walker

--Atomic Accidents: a History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters... by James Mahaffey

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident--Chernobyl, The Ukraine, USSR--Apr 26, 1986--31 dead, 335,000 evacuated--the worst nuclear accident of all time--an explosion in the power plant blew radioactive gasses and debris almost a mile into the air--2 workers were killed instantly and 29 died of radiation poisoning over the next few weeks--the radiation exposure is expected to cause hundreds of thousands of new cancers and tens of thousands of deaths in the future.

--Visit Sunny Chernobyl: and Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell

--Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American...by Kate Brown

--Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl by Robert Polidori

--Heavy Water: a Film for Chernobyl (DVD)


The Oklahoma City Bombing--Murrah Federal Building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma--April 19, 1995--168 dead--before 9/11 it was the single worst act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States--it was carried out by 27-year-old American in retaliation for the raid on the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, TX two years earlier--he was executed in 2001--on the site of the bombing is a memorial park with 168 chairs for the victims, including nineteen small chairs for each child that was killed.

--The Third Terrorist: the Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing by Jayna Davis

--In Their Name: Dedicated to the Brave and the Innocent... ed. by Clive Irving

--American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck

--One of Ours: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing by Richard A. Serrano

The September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks--New York City, Washington, DC, and Somerset County, Pennsylvania--2996 dead--the worst terrorist attack on American soil--carried out by Al Qaeda terrorists--3 high-jacked planes were flown into both towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon--the 4th plane was taken over by passengers and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania--a large amount of fatalities occurred when the towers collapsed--411 emergency service people died after rushing to help--over 6000 people injured.
American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the WTF (92 dead plus approx 1600 at the tower)
United Airlines flight 175 crashed into the south tower of the WTF (65 dead plus approx 900 at the tower)
American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon (64 dead plus 125 at the Pentagon)
United Airlines flight 93 was heading towards Washington DC but passengers and crew fought back and the plane crashed in a field in PA (all 44 on board died)

--Dog Heroes of September 11th: a Tribute to America's Search and Rescue Dogs by Nona Kilgore Bauer

--Tower Stories: an Oral History of 9/11 ed. by Damon DiMarco

9/11 Pentagon Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery

--Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11 by Patrick Creed

9/11 Flight 93 Memorial
--Flight 93: The Story... by Tom McMillan

Mumbai Terrorist Attacks (Taj Hotel)--Mumbai, India--Nov 26, 2008-Nov 29, 2008--164 killed and over 600 wounded--twelve coordinated attacks including shootings, bombings, and hostage taking--carried out by Pakistani members of an Islamist terrorist group--10 attackers killed, 1 tried and executed--the attacks drew widespread global condemnation.

--The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy

Victims of the Boston Terror Attacks
The Boston Marathon Terror Attacks--Boston, Massachusetts--April 15 and April 18-19, 2013--2 pressure cooker bombs are detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon--3 people killed--2 brothers of Chechen-Avar descent are suspected--a MIT policeman is murdered--shootouts with police end with the death of the older suspect--the wounded younger suspect is later captured--at least 280 were injured--the remaining suspect will go to trial in 2015

--Stronger: Fighting Back after the Boston Marathon Bombing by Jeff Bauman

This is dedicated to all the victims. May we never forget your names.

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