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A History of Civilization in 50 Disasters

The History in 50 series explores history by telling thematically linked stories

A History of Civilization in 50 Disasters

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A History of Civilization in 50 Disasters

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The earth shakes and cracks open. Volcanoes erupt. Continents freeze, bake, and flood. Droughts parch the land. Wildfires and hundred-year storms consume anything in their paths. Invisible clouds of disease and pestilence probe for victims. Tidal waves sweep ashore from the vast sea. The natural world is a dangerous place, but one species has evolved a unique defense against the hazards: civilization.

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The earth shakes and cracks open. Volcanoes erupt. Continents freeze, bake, and flood. Droughts parch the land. Wildfires and hundred-year storms consume anything in their paths. Invisible clouds of disease and pestilence probe for victims. Tidal waves sweep ashore from the vast sea. The natural world is a dangerous place, but one species has evolved a unique defense against the hazards: civilization.

Civilization rearranges nature for human convenience. Clothes and houses keep us warm; agriculture feeds us; medicine fights our diseases. It all works most of the time. But key resources lie in the most hazardous places, so we choose to live on river flood plains, on the slopes of volcanoes, at the edge of the sea, above seismic faults. We pack ourselves into cities, Petri dishes for germs. Civilization thrives on the edge of disaster. And what happens when natural forces meet molasses holding tanks, insecticides, deepwater oil rigs, nuclear power plants? We learn the hard way how to avoid the last disaster and maybe how to create the next one. What we don’t know can, indeed, hurt us.

This book’s white-knuckled journey from antiquity to the present leads us to wonder at times how humankind has survived. And yet, as author Gale Eaton makes clear, civilization has advanced not just in spite of disasters but in part because of them. Hats off to human resilience, ingenuity, and perseverance! They ve carried us this far; may they continue to do so into our ever-hazardous future.

The History in 50 series explores history by telling thematically linked stories. Each book includes 50 illustrated narrative accounts of people and events some well-known, others often overlooked that, together, build a rich connect-the-dots mosaic and challenge conventional assumptions about how history unfolds. Future titles include A History of Travel in 50 Vehicles, A History of Medicine in 50 Discoveries, A History of American Culture in 50 Innovators, A History of the Universe in 50 Milestones, A History of Sports in 50 Athletes, and A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes.

Notable Features:

*Dedicated to the premise that history is the greatest story ever told.
*Includes a mix of greatest hits with quirky, surprising, provocative accounts.
*Challenges readers to think and engage.
*Includes a glossary of technical terms; sources by chapter; teaching resources as jumping-off points for student research; and endnotes.

About the Authors

A former children’s librarian at the Boston Public Library and professor at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Gale Eaton has spent a lifetime with books for children and young adults. Her previous books include Well-Dressed Role Models: The Portrayal of Women in Biographies for Children and The Education of Alice M. Jordan: Navigating a Career in Children s Librarianship. She is presently at work on A History of Progress in 50 Hoaxes. Gale lives in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

History in 50 series editor Phillip Hoose is the acclaimed author of the National Book Award winner Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. He is also the author of the multi-award winning title, The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, the National Book Award Finalist We Were There Too!: Young People in U.S. History, and the Christopher Award-winning manual for youth activism It s Our World Too! His picture book Hey, Little Ant has sold over one million copies in ten languages. His love of sports is reflected in his acclaimed books Perfect Once Removed: When Baseball Was All the World to Me and Hoosiers: the Fabulous Basketball Life of Indiana. He lives in Portland, Maine.

Additional Information

Format

Hardcover, Paperback

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