July 21, 2008

Book Review - Next Catastrophe

Perrow's perspective on accidents differs from the dominant view and offers a new way of thinking a bout disaster preparedness. He believes that multiple and unexpected crises are built into our society's complex system. Rather than emphasizing how to protect the existing targets, he asserts that our effort should be focused on minimizing potential damage and reducing the attractiveness of targets to possible attackers. Perrow discusses three types of catastrophes--natural disasters, organizational crises, and deliberate attacks--and suggests that the best way to reduce the possible impact is to disperse populations, corporations, critical infrastructures such as energy, water, and information systems. He states that the possibility for disaster is increasing, whether because of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or industrial accidents, and explains why federal and local agencies are not prepared to handle this. Perrow writes with academic authority but the current relevancy of his subject will make this book of interest.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities o Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters
Charles Perrow
HV 551.3 .P45 2007