The Associated Press Library of Disasters

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9780717291700: The Associated Press Library of Disasters
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There's nothing like a good disaster--natural or man-made. This collection covers about 100 years of calamities from the 1883 eruption of Krakatau to the 1997 Ohio Valley floods in generous selections from contemporary Associated Press coverage. When available, photographs complement the text.

Each volume covers a type of event or phenomenon, from earthquakes and tsunamis in volume 1 to nuclear and industrial disasters in volume 8. Accessible overviews include, in the appropriate volumes, charts of the Saffir-Simpson Scale (hurricanes), the Fujita Scale (tornadoes), and the Richter Scale (earthquakes). Each volume also has a chart of notable events in that category before the coverage period.

Events are arranged chronologically. The language of the news reports is that of the reported period, so some spelling and usage conventions will be slightly different from current usage, and ethnic, racial, and political references will be those of their time. Headline and date of publication in a news source precede the text of each report. The reports are often accompanied by supporting text, in a different typeface, which places the events in context and explains inaccuracies. At the end of each report is a note indicating the outcome of the event.

While the books are not inclusive, certainly the "greatest hits" in world natural and man-made disasters not concealed by military secrecy (e.g., the sinking of the Normandie just before its conversion to a troop ship) are covered--the San Francisco earthquake and fire, the Texas City explosions, Mount St. Helens, and the Hindenburg are all there. The Johnstown floods, Hurricane Andrew, and a heat wave that killed 100 in Chicago in 1995 are among the many other natural disasters included. The Bhopal chemical disaster, Chernobyl, the Watts riot, and the World Trade Center bombing are among the man-made kind.

Each volume indexes the entire set and has a glossary of useful terms. Volumes are well designed, with varying typefaces and good use of white space. Books are library-bound and should lie flat for copying. Illustrations are small photographs that probably will not copy well.

This set will be accessible to students from middle school and above, and adults will enjoy browsing it. Recommended for middle and high schools and public libraries.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-8-These unique volumes, well salted with black-and-white photographs, gather hundreds of historical AP reports about nearly every major 20th-century catastrophe involving weather, earth movements, civil unrest, crashes, nuclear accidents, and explosions. Each topical volume (Volcanoes; Air, Sea, & Train Disasters; etc.) opens with an introductory overview that includes a chart of pre-1900 incidents, and closes with both a specific glossary and a set index. In between, the events are arranged chronologically. Each is given one or two edited stories complete with headlines, subheads, eyewitness quotes, and, surprisingly infrequently, a byline, all capped with brief comments setting the stage, pointing out inaccuracies in the original reports, and describing the aftermath. The earliest story in the set is a lurid account of the eruption of Krakatau in 1883; the most recent describes the tent-city fire in Mina, Saudi Arabia in April 1997. The coverage is not encyclopedic enough to include the massacres in East Timor, or more general tragedies stemming from the world wars, AIDS, and chemical pollution. However, the broadly international scope, plus a sense for the sensational-the hunt for the Unabomber is included, as are stories about the Titanic, TWA Flight 800, and the 1992 sewer explosions in Guadalajara-will reward casual browsers as richly as research-driven readers.
John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Associated Press Staff
Published by Scholastic Library Publishing
ISBN 10: 0717291707 ISBN 13: 9780717291700
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