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Suggested Reading

A recent book that examines the evolution of how people thought about, and responded to, disasters in the English-speaking world, see Cynthia A. Kierner, Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood (2019).

Wikipedia is a useful source of informative lists of calamities of various types: earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, and various other types of disasters.

There are many excellent case studies of disasters, as well as a growing body of scholarly literature that explores key issues and themes in the interdisciplinary field of Disaster Studies. The bibliography below, thematically organized, is by no means exhaustive.

General/Miscellaenous

Biel, Steven, ed.  American Disasters. New York: New York University Press, 2001.

Hewitt, Kenneth.  Interpretations of Calamity: From the Viewpoint of Human Ecology. Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1983.

Johns, Alessa, ed., Dreadful Visitations: Confronting Natural Catastrophe in the Age of Enlightenment. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Kierner, Cynthia A. Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019.

Knowles, Scott Gabriel.  "Lessons in the Rubble: The World Trade Center and the History of Disaster Investigations in the United States." History & Technology, 19 (2003): 9-28.

Kozak, Jan T., and Vladimir Cermák, The Illustrated History of Natural Disasters. Dordrecht: Springer, 2010.

Rozario, Kevin.  The Culture of Calamity: Disaster and the Making of Modern America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Solnit, Rebecca. A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster. New York: Viking, 2009.

Steinberg, Ted. Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Public Policy

 Davies, Gareth. "Dealing with Disaster: The Politics of Catastrophe in the United States, 1789–1861," American Nineteenth Century History, 14 (2013): 53-72.

_____. "The Emergence of a National Politics of Disaster, 1865-1900." Journal of Policy History, 26 (2014): 305-26.

_____. "Pre-Modern disaster Politics: Combating Catastrophe in the 1950s." Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 47 (2017): 260-81.

Davis, Mike. Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998.

Milleti, Dennis. Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States. Washington: Joseph Henry Press, 1999.

Remes, Jacob A. C. Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016.

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Earthquakes

Davison, Charles. History of British Earthquakes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1924.

Dyl, Joanna L. Seismic City: An Environmental History of San Francisco's 1906 Earthquake. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017.

Molesky, Mark. This Gulf of Fire: The Destruction of Lisbon, or Apocalypse in the Age of Science and Reason. New York: Knopf, 2015.

Mulcahy, Matthew. "The Port Royal Earthquake and the World of Wonders in Seventeenth-Century Jamaica." Early American Studies, 6 (2008): 391-421.

Robles, Whitney Barlow. "Atlantic Disaster: Boston Responds to the Cape Ann Earthquake of 1755. New England Quarterly, 90 (2017): 7-35.

Valencius, Conevery Bolton. The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Walker, Charles F. Shaky Colonialism: The 1746 Earthquake-Tsunami in Lima, Peru, and Its Long Aftermath. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008.

Epidemics and Disease

Fenn, Elizabeth. Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82. New York: Hill and Wang, 2001.

Finger, Simon. The Contagious City: The Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2012.

McNeill, J. R. Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Rosenberg, Charles E. The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Slack, Paul. The Impact of Plague in Tudor and Stuart England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.

Worth, J. Estes, and Billy Gordon Smith, eds. A Melancholy Scene of Devastation: The Public Response to the 1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic. Canton, Mass.: Science History Publications USA, 1997.

Famine

Edgerton-Tarpley, Kathryn. "Tough Choices: Grappling with Famine in Qing China, the British Empire, and Beyond. Journal of World History, 24 (2013): 135-76.

Kinealy, Christine. The Great Irish Famine: Impact, Ideology, and Rebellion. New York: Palgrave, 2002.

Outhwaite, R. B. Dearth, Public Policy and Social Disturbance in England 1550-1800Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Fires

Baker, Meredith Henne. The Richmond Theater Fire: Early America's First Great Disaster. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2012.

Mulcahy, Matthew. "The "Great Fire" of 1740 and the Politics of Disaster Relief in Colonial Charleston." South Carolina Historical Magazine, 99 (1998): 135-57.

Sawislak, Karen. Smoldering City: Chicagoans and the Great Fire, 1871-1874. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Simon, Bryant. The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives. New York: New Press, 2017.

Tebeau, Mark. Eating Smoke: Fire in Urban America, 1800-1950. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Floods

McCullough, David. The Johnstown Flood: The Incredible Story Behind One of the Most Devastating Disasters American History Has Ever Known. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968.

Morris, Christopher. The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples from Hernando de Soto to Hurricane Katrina. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Murphy, Kathleen. "Virginia's Great Fresh of 1771 and the Politics of Disaster Relief." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 123 (2015): 298-323.

Parrish, Susan Scott. The Flood Year 1927: A Cultural History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017.

Hurricanes

Horowitz, Andy. "The Complete Story of the Galveston Horror: Trauma, History, and the Great Storm of 1900." Historical Reflections, 41 (2015): 95-108.

_____. "Hurricane Betsy and the Politics of Disaster in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, 1965-1967." Journal of Southern History, 80 (2014): 893-934.

Johnson, Sherry. Climate and Catastrophe in Cuba and the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Mulcahy, Matthew. Hurricanes and Society in the Greater British Caribbean, 1624-1783. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

Schwartz, Stuart B. Sea of Storms: A History of Hurricanes in the Greater Caribbean from Columbus to Katrina. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.

Skilton, Liz. Tempest: Hurricane Naming and American Culture. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019.

Insect Infestations

Giesen, James C. Boll Weevil Blues: Cotton, Myth, and Power in the American South. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Lockwood, Jeffrey A. Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier. New York: Basic Books, 2004.

Pauly, Philip J. "Fighting the Hessian Fly: American and British Responses to Insect Invasion; 1776-1789." Environmental History, 7 (2002): 485-507.

Technology

 Aldrich, Mark. Death Rode the Rails: American Railroad Accidents and Safety, 1828-1965. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

Brockmann, R. John. Exploding Steamboats, Senate Debates, and Technical Reports: The Convergence of Technology, Politics, and Rhetoric in the Steamboat Bill of 1838. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood Publishing Company, 2002.

Bronstein, Jamie. Caught in the Machinery: Workplace Accidents and Injured Workers in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007.

Paskoff, Paul. Troubled Waters: Steamboat Disasters, River Improvements, and American Public Policy, 1821-1860. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007.

Puleo, Stephen. Black Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919. Boston: Beacon Press, 2003.