About Catastrophes & Heroes

catastrophes & heroes

A century of the industrial age saw unprecedented leaps in technology and engineering, from the first flight of an airplane to the first flight of humans to the moon. But alongside these awe-inspiring achievements were horrible disasters caused by faulty engineering or careless judgement. Catastrophes and Heroes explores eight such disasters and recognizes the unheralded heroes who stepped up to save others in times of great danger.

Included in this collection are the stories of female phone operators who, despite being in the path of destruction after the Los Angeles St. Francis Dam collapsed in 1928, stayed on the job to warn others to evacuate, Ernest Hemingway, who assisted survivors in his own boat after a hurricane destroyed the Florida East Coast Railway in 1935, and Ernest Betts who, though knowing little first aid, saved thirty people after the streamliner train The City of San Francisco crashed in the Nevada mountains in 1939.

Filled with little-known stories and historical insights, this book explores the rich history of the marvels of engineering and technological advances in the span of a century and reveals how the perils, though disastrous, gave rise to heroism and compassion at a time when machines were supposed to do it all.

My review

Jerry Borrowman writes some of my very favorite non-fiction books. He writes in a way that is very easily readable. And I really like the way he focuses his books on the people who experienced things.

This book was about catastrophes worldwide. I don’t think I’d heard of even one of them before reading the book. But now I’m interested in things like the Tay Bridge in Scotland or the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington. I’m going to have to see if I can find more information about these!

It’s hard to imagine being in one of these kinds of tragedies, but there are tons of people that have been. And there were heroes there too. It reminds me a little of the Fred Rogers quote about looking for the helpers. You’ll always find them, just when you need them the most. And that’s one of the main focuses of this book. I love that idea.

This is an excellent book that you can read fairly quickly. I loved everything about it!

I was sent a copy of Catastrophes & Heroes as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Purchase links

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What to read after Catastrophes & Heroes

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