Natural Disasters: A Reference Handbook

(Contemporary World Issues). ABC-CLIO. Jun. 2019. 340p. Tr $60. ISBN 9781440867613.
Gr 6-10–Complementing the overview of humanity’s generally destructive relationship with the natural world in Leslie A. Duram’s Environmental Geography: People and the Environment, this entry in the series focuses on nature’s equally, or at least potentially, destructive ways. Opening with a survey of representative disasters in human history through mid-2018, ranging from earthquakes to gaseous “limnic” eruptions and sinkholes, Newton explores their causes, the results, and possible strategies for coping with them in the future. Then, after eight essays by other researchers or specialists based on personal experiences and quick profiles of significant figures and organizations, he presents “data and documents” that include the “deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history” and other tables, a selection of 13 legal opinions and government publications, and a substantial gathering of annotated print and web resources. He caps all of this with a time line that begins 440 million years ago and ends in 2018 with a federal report on what to do when (not if) a giant meteorite again strikes Earth. There is more than enough current information here to compensate for the lack of illustrations (aside from one murky view of modern Pompeii), and to qualify as a valuable update for older reference titles such as Robert Carmichael’s Notable Natural Disasters or Lesli J. Favor’s Natural Disasters.
VERDICT As an up-to-date, if utilitarian, resource on a perennially popular topic, this merits consideration for midsize and larger middle and high school collections.

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