Dealing with Disaster

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Science  24 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5572, pp. 1404-1405
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072171

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Catastrophe & Culture The Anthropology of Disaster. Susanna M. Hoffman and Anthony Oliver-Smith, Eds. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe, 2002. James Currey, Oxford, 2002. 324 pp. $60. ISBN 1-930618-14-X. £45. ISBN 0-85255-925-9. Paper, $24.95. ISBN 1-930618-15-8. £16.99. ISBN 0-85255-926-7.

The contributors discuss a variety of events--Bhopal, the Exxon Valdez, Chernobyl, Mexican earthquakes, drought in Africa and in the Andes, the 1991 brush fire in Oakland--to explore how human actions and natural forces combine to turn hazards into disasters. They also discuss how anthropology can help shape more effective responses to natural catastrophes.