Disaster, disaster, disasterDisaster, Disaster, Disaster
Catastrophes Which Changed Laws

I love this cover art! This one was a tough one for me to pull. It is not really that awful, but just dated. It actually has done well with circulation, but not recently. There are no illustrations either. 7th graders in my area do a major disaster report and a newer title would definitely get more users. I have included the index of disasters too. (I love the dramatic titles given!) However, the rule being “know thy audience” for youth materials, this one has to go since I just don’t have space.


Disaster, disaster, disaster

Disaster contents

    1. me too! i’dve been all over it as a kid. but i’d enjoy it now almost as much…only i’m well familiar now w/most of the contents.

      love the cover too; every solitary soul in full-on panic mode.

  1. I know what laws were changed for a couple of those chapters–we can’t build wooden structures in Chicago anymore, yet the fire escape on my building is made of wood. The Eastland disaster probably changed occupancy laws on boats and possibly the number of lifeboats too. There were too many lifeboats, they were stored on the top of the boat, it capsized into the Chicago river, many people drowned. If they hadn’t had a law that said there had to be lifeboat space for each person on the boat (thanks, Titanic!) it never would have happened.

  2. Oh! The Iroquois Theater–I just noticed. Exit doors at public buildings must open out, be clearly marked, and can’t be locked.

    It’s the Chicago trifecta!

    1. Not to mention that the illustration on the cover of the firefighter carrying the boy looks a lot like the famous picture from that event. The author probably left it out because it was still a little too soon.

    1. I figured they thought Coconut Grove covered Boston, and they didn’t want to do more than per city.

  3. I really hate that people weed books just because they’re old. Even if someone rewrites the story, it doesn’t mean it’s written as well. Would you discard a copy of Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember? Yes, it’s 60 years old, and lots (and lots and lots) of newer stuff has been written about the Titanic. A Night to Remember was the first book written after the sinking, and contains first hand accounts.

      1. What laws were changed because of Hurricane Katrina or the LA Riots?

        We don’t get typhoons in the US, and in the places where they happen, poverty often prevents legislation. I remember reports from Haiti following the earthquake talking about the cinderblocks used to build many of Haiti’s buildings. They weight 1/3 of what a cinderblock weighs in the US. No wonder they crumbled.

        The Northridge earthquake prompted changes to California’s building codes, because the type of motion observed was different than in previous earthquakes. Freeway retrofitting is nearing completion.

        The Indonesian Tsunami has prompted the development of posted evacuation routes from Pacific Coast beaches in California.

        Katrina should have prompted the closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. Hasn’t happened yet.

    1. I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed again and again. Posters here seem to take a special delight in removing and destroying books at the drop of a hat, with no regard for anything but whim. If it’s OLD, it’s good enough of a reason. I like to lurk here just to enjoy the books one last time before they vanish forever.

      1. “Destroyed”. You’re so dramatic. “Destroyed.” Have you never heard of the concept of a Friends of the Library sale, where they sell all the books they can’t keep anymore?
        Get your head out of the sand. As everyone’s said a million times, libraries can’t keep everything. There’s always going to be a better book than the ones they show. It’s no big problem to get rid of a few. At least they aren’t having to actually get rid of the classics in exchange for a passing fad like Twilight. No one’s gonna bat an eyelash if this goes, unlike ‘A Night to Remember’.

    2. Just to point out, Mary mentioned in the post that it was no longer circulating well. A book doesn’t do any good if kids don’t want to pick it up. It wasn’t weeded “just because [it’s] old.”

    3. In the case of A Night to Remember, the book is still in print. I’d probably order another copy through Discretionary to replace the old one. Wouldn’t people rather have a copy in good condition rather than one that’s ratty looking?

      1. typhoons and hurricanes are the same thing. here’s something i remember reading about from the galveston 1906 storm(6000 dead): a baby was found alive on the roof of a demolished house after the storm-it’s hand had been NAILED TO A SHINGLE, presumably by its father(missing, never found)to keep it from being swept away. can you imagine doing that to save your little baby to save it?

  4. Triangle Shirt Waist gave us fire escapes. Well, gave them to New York City, for sure.

  5. A shame the only illustration can be found on the outside. It’s a good example of complete and total chaos.

  6. I’d say the San Francisco Earthquake gave us building codes but that’s actually an urban myth. Building codes were actually stricter in San Francisco before the earthquake and loosened after to speed rebuilding. The city is still paying for all those buildings built under the less strict code.

    Galveston is also a story I know well but i’m not sure what law it changed. Other than that it taught the US army occupying Cuba that they should let the Cubans use the telegraph lines to warn the US of incoming hurricanes. During Isaac’s Storm they were convinced that the excitable “latins” would put out a warning too easily.

    I believe the Texas City fire/exposion gave us laws about ships having to inform the port of their cargo and perhaps not mix certain cargos. The ship had small arms munitions and fertilizer. Not a good combination in a fire.

  7. I am going to ILL this book. I actual want to read more. If they library does not want ti anymore is they any way my library can borrow it Mary?

  8. Wow, the have the New London school explosion. My father’s cousin died in that. I didn’t think many people outside of Texas knew about that, to tell you the truth.

  9. If the cover could be updated, the information (and the stories it tells) would still be useful.

    We used to have a program every year at my small town library called “save that Turkey” in which a good book with a dreadful cover would be offered up for rescue. The best design entered would replace the current dreadful cover.

    And yes, our book budget was minute!

  10. I really want to read this book. Summer Excursion into Death sounds like a horror movie tag line.

  11. Just to clarify: when I mean it hasn’t circulated recently – this title it hasn’t been out in over 5 years. Cool cover not withstanding! My other disaster books do a brisk business. I personally never weed an item just because it is old. I have limited space and each item in the collection has to work hard for the money. Another library might make an entirely different decision.

    1. I agree … what one library will weed, another will keep. It all depends on your shelving capacity, your patrons and the mission statement of your library. What I would weed from the high school library might stay in a college or public library.

  12. Norman Rockwell does PANIC! The temptress in the center, even in extremis, is well groomed: nicely done hair and lipstick; perhaps she CAUSED the disaster (a way to meet new people, anyway.)

  13. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is also the good movie about the Titanic, not the recent schmaltzy one. There have been several much worse disasters at sea, notably the ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ sinking (but the victims were only Nazis & it was an act of war, so that’s OK).

    September 11th was deliberate mass murder, so it may not count either. Accidents caused by negligence are different and can be legislated against. Something about horses and stable doors?