Record of Natural and Social Disasters and Their Political Implications: A New Issue for Public Policy Planners

Author: Gruberg, Martin
This work goes beyond the existing literature on disaster events, both manmade and natural, by examining the politics behind them. It takes a comprehensive look at the spectrum of international disasters—geologic, meteorological, fire and power, health, transportation, and wartime.


“Martin Gruberg has taken the first step in creating an historical record of major types of disasters that goes back, in some cases, over hundreds of years. In this chronology of seven major types of disasters – seismic events, wind disasters, technological failures, public health disasters, infrastructure failures, mass demonstrations and loss of civil control, and acts of war – Dr. Gruberg documents the recurring theme of conflicting political interests that lead to efforts to suppress dissent, but are balanced by struggles to win control in contested political arenas. This theme of political struggle as evidenced in the conditions that lead to disaster is strikingly apparent in virtually every incident that is cited in this book. This initial work would be greatly enhanced by a subsequent study that would identify the similar and dissimilar conditions in this remarkable list of disaster events to determine whether there are common factors that contribute to, or inhibit, the emergence of full-scale disasters.” – Prof. Louise K. Comfort, University of Pittsburgh

“. . . a cyclopoedic quilt of natural, accidental and human generated disasters.” – Prof. Zillur R. Khan, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

“. . . makes clear that the picture [of natural disasters] is more complex than is commonly thought, but that there are ways to mitigate, if not prevent, their impact and that public servants have an important role to play in the process.” – Prof. Karen N. King, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Table of Contents

Foreword by Prof. Louise K. Comfort
1. Geologic Disasters
2. Weather Disasters
3. Fire and Power Disasters
4. Health Disasters
5. Transportation Disasters
6. Miscellaneous Disasters
7. Acts of War
8. Fragments in Conclusion