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Disasters & Disaster Relief

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  1. 15.4 hrs • 5/10/2016 • Unabridged

    Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage, the city of New Orleans’ efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting effects not just on the city’s geography and infrastructure—but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation’s great cities. Much of New Orleans still sat under water the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina. Then a staff reporter for the New York Times, he was heading into the city to survey the damage. The Interstate was eerily empty. Soldiers in uniform and armed with assault rifles stopped him. Water reached the eaves of houses for as far as the eye could see. Four out of every five houses—eighty percent of the city’s housing stock—had been flooded. Around that same proportion of schools and businesses were wrecked. The weight of all that water on the streets cracked gas and water and sewer pipes all around town, and the deluge had drowned almost every power substation and rendered unusable most of the city’s water and sewer system. People living in flooded areas of the city could not be expected to pay their property taxes for the foreseeable future. Nor would all those boarded-up businesses—21,000 of the city’s 22,000 businesses were still shuttered six months after the storm—be contributing their share of sales taxes and other fees to the city’s coffers. Six weeks after the storm, the city laid off half its workforce—precisely when so many people were turning to its government for help. Meanwhile, cynics both in and out of the Beltway were questioning the use of taxpayer dollars to rebuild a city that sat mostly below sea level. How could the city possibly come back? This book traces the stories of New Orleanians of all stripes—politicians and business owners, teachers and bus drivers, poor and wealthy, black and white—as they confront the aftermath of one of the great tragedies of our age and reconstruct, change, and in some cases abandon a city that’s the soul of this nation.

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    Katrina by Gary Rivlin

    Katrina

    15.4 hrs • 5/10/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 13.4 hrs • 10/13/2015 • Unabridged

    When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days. After the disaster, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales, and in The 33, he brings them to haunting, visceral life. We learn what it was like to be imprisoned inside a mountain, understand the horror of being slowly consumed by hunger, and experience the awe of working in such a place—underground passages filled with danger and that often felt alive. A masterwork of narrative journalism and a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit, The 33 captures the profound ways in which the lives of the Chilean miners and everyone involved in the catastrophe were forever changed.

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    The 33

    13.4 hrs • 10/13/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    7.6 hrs • 4/7/2015 • Unabridged

    Rescue of the Bounty is the harrowing story of the sinking and rescue of Bounty—the tall ship used in the classic 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty—which was caught in the path of Hurricane Sandy with sixteen aboard. On Thursday, October 25, 2012, Captain Robin Walbridge made the fateful decision to sail Bounty from New London, Connecticut, to St. Petersburg, Florida. Walbridge was well aware that a hurricane was forecast to travel north from the Caribbean toward the eastern seaboard. Yet the captain was determined to sail. As he explained to his crew of fifteen: A ship is always safer at sea than in port. He intended to sail “around the hurricane” and told the crew that anyone who did not want to come on the voyage could leave the ship—there would be no hard feelings. As fate would have it, no one took the captain up on his offer. Four days into the voyage, Superstorm Sandy made an almost direct hit on Bounty. The vessel’s failing pumps could not keep up with the incoming water. The ship began to lose power as it was beaten and rocked by hurricane winds that spanned eight hundred miles. A few hours later, in the dark of night, the ship suddenly overturned ninety miles off the North Carolina coast in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” sending the crew tumbling into an ocean filled with towering thirty-foot waves. The Coast Guard then launched one of the most complex and massive rescues in its history, flying two Jayhawk helicopter crews into the hurricane and lowering rescue swimmers into the raging seas again and again, despite the danger to their own lives. In the uproar heard across American media in the days following, a single question persisted: Why did the captain decide to sail? Through hundreds of hours of interviews with the crew members, their families, and the Coast Guard, the masterful duo of Michael J. Tougias and Douglas A. Campbell creates an in-depth portrait of the enigmatic Captain Walbridge, his motivations, and what truly occurred aboard Bounty during those terrifying days at sea. Dripping with suspense and vivid high-stakes drama, Rescue of the Bounty is an unforgettable tale about the brutality of nature and the human will to survive.

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    Rescue of the Bounty by Michael J. Tougias, Douglas A. Campbell

    Rescue of the Bounty

    7.6 hrs • 4/7/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 11.3 hrs • 12/1/2014 • Unabridged

    Building resilience—the ability to bounce back more quickly and effectively—is an urgent social and economic issue. Our interconnected world is susceptible to sudden and dramatic shocks and stresses such as cyber-attacks, new strains of  viruses, structural failures, violent storms, civil disturbances, and economic blows.  Through an astonishing range of stories, Judith Rodin shows how people, organizations, businesses, communities, and cities have developed resilience in the face of otherwise catastrophic challenges:Medellin, Colombia, was once the drug and murder capital of South America. Now it’s host to international conferences and is an emerging vacation destination.Tulsa, Oklahoma, cracked the code of rapid urban development in a floodplain.Airbnb, Toyota, Ikea, Coca-Cola, and other companies have realized the value of reducing vulnerabilities and potential threats to customers, employees, and their bottom line.In the Mau Forest of Kenya, bottom-up solutions are critical for dealing with climate change, environmental degradation, and the displacement of locals.Following Superstorm Sandy, the Rockaway Surf Club in New York played a vital role in distributing emergency supplies. As we grow more adept at managing disruption and more skilled at resilience-building, Rodin reveals how we are able to create and take advantage of new economic and social opportunities that offer us the capacity to recover after catastrophes and grow strong in times of relative calm.

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    The Resilience Dividend

    11.3 hrs • 12/1/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 8.6 hrs • 2/15/2014 • Unabridged

    A heart-stopping true-life tale of maritime disaster, survival, and daring rescue from a master storyteller Seventy-foot waves batter a torn life raft 250 miles out to sea in one of the world’s most dangerous places, the Gulf Stream. Hanging on to the raft are three men, a Canadian, a Brit, and their captain, Jean Pierre de Lutz, a dual citizen of America and France. Their capsized forty-seven-foot sailboat has filled with water and disappeared below the tempestuous sea. The giant waves repeatedly toss the men out of their tiny vessel, and JP, with nine broken ribs, is hypothermic and on the verge of death. The captain, however, is a remarkably tough character, having survived a brutal boyhood, and now he must rely on the same inner strength to outlast the storm. Trying to reach these survivors before it’s too late are four brave coast guardsmen battling hurricane-force winds in their Jayhawk helicopter. They know the waves will be extreme, but when they arrive they are astounded to find that the monstrous seas have waves reaching eighty feet. Lowering the wind-whipped helicopter to drop a rescue swimmer into such chaos will be extremely dangerous. The pilots wonder if they have a realistic chance of saving the sailors clinging to the broken life raft and if they will be able to even retrieve their own rescue swimmer from the towering seas. Once they commit to the rescue, they find themselves in almost as much trouble as the survivors, facing one life-and-death moment after the next. Also caught in the storm are three other boats, each one in a Mayday situation. Of the ten people on these boats, only six will ever see land again. Spellbinding, harrowing, and meticulously researched, A Storm Too Soon is a vivid account of the powerful collision between the forces of nature and the human will to survive. Author Michael J. Tougias, known for his fast-paced writing style and character-driven stories, tells this true saga in the present tense to give the reader a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat immediacy. A Storm Too Soon is Tougias at his masterful best and a heart-pounding narrative of survival, the power of the human spirit, and one of the most incredible rescues ever attempted.

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    A Storm Too Soon by Michael J. Tougias

    A Storm Too Soon

    8.6 hrs • 2/15/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    17.6 hrs • 9/10/2013 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize–winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina—and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.  Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health-care rationing.

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    Five Days at Memorial

    17.6 hrs • 9/10/13 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  7. 10.3 hrs • 5/14/2013 • Unabridged

    In its 4.5 billion–year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful mega-volcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How? As a species, Homo sapiens is at a crossroads. Study of our planet’s turbulent past suggests that we are overdue for a catastrophic disaster, whether caused by nature or by human interference. It’s a frightening prospect, as each of the Earth’s past major disasters—from meteor strikes to bombardment by cosmic radiation—resulted in a mass extinction, where more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. But in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Annalee Newitz explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival are better than ever. Life on Earth has come close to annihilation—humans have, more than once, narrowly avoided extinction just during the last million years—but every time a few creatures survived, evolving to adapt to the harshest of conditions. This brilliantly speculative work of popular science focuses on humanity’s long history of dodging the bullet, as well as on new threats that we may face in years to come. Most important, it explores how scientific breakthroughs today will help us avoid disasters tomorrow. From simulating tsunamis to studying central Turkey’s ancient underground cities; from cultivating cyanobacteria for “living cities” to designing space elevators to make space colonies cost-effective; from using math to stop pandemics to studying the remarkable survival strategies of gray whales, scientists and researchers the world over are discovering the keys to long-term resilience and learning how humans can choose life over death. Newitz’s remarkable and fascinating journey through the science of mass extinctions is a powerful argument about human ingenuity and our ability to change. In a world populated by “doomsday preppers” and media commentators obsessively forecasting our demise, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a compelling voice of hope. It leads us away from apocalyptic thinking into a future where we live to build a better world—on this planet and perhaps on others. Readers of this book will be equipped scientifically, intellectually, and emotionally to face whatever the future holds.

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    Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

    10.3 hrs • 5/14/13 • Unabridged
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  8. 3.4 hrs • 4/9/2013 • Unabridged

    Written and published within a month of the worst storm to ever hit the New Jersey-New York area, “Superstorm Sandy: A Diary in the Dark” is a first-person account of one New Jersey’s resident’s twelve days without power or heat in his North Jersey home. The author, William Westhoven, an award-winning New Jersey journalist and author, mixes personal drama and observations with fact-based reporting and a liberal dose of “you have to laugh or you’ll cry” humor. His quick work has resulted in the first book to document the arrival of Superstorm Sandy and the immediate recovery period that followed. The author pledges to donate all paid royalites from this book to the nonprofit Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

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    Superstorm Sandy

    3.4 hrs • 4/9/13 • Unabridged
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  9. 10.5 hrs • 12/12/2012 • Unabridged

    In his new nonfiction book Zeitoun, New York Times bestselling author Dave Eggers tells a Hurricane Katrina story unlike any written before. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun—a prosperous Syrian American and father of four—chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the eerie days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing out supplies and rescuing those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Eggers’ riveting work, three years in the making, follows Zeitoun back to his childhood in Syria and around the world during his years as a sailor. The book also traces the story of Zeitoun’s wife Kathy—a boisterous southerner who converted to Islam—and their wonderful, funny, devoted family. When Zeitoun vanishes, Kathy is left to make sense of the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun was possible.

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    Zeitoun

    10.5 hrs • 12/12/12 • Unabridged
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  10. 8.4 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    A real-life thriller in the tradition of The Perfect Storm In the spring of 2010 the world watched for weeks as more than 200 million gallons of crude oil billowed from a hole three miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Warnings of various and imminent environmental consequences dominated the news. Deepwater drilling—largely ignored or misunderstood to that point—exploded in the American consciousness in the worst way possible. Fire on the Horizon, written by veteran oil rig captain John Konrad and longtime Washington Post journalist Tom Shroder, recounts in vivid detail the life of the rig itself, from its construction in South Korea in the year 2000 to its improbable journey around the world to its disastrous end, and reveals the day-to-day lives, struggles, and ambitions of those who called it home. From the little-known maritime colleges to Transocean’s training schools and Houston headquarters to the small towns all over the country where the wives and children of the Horizon’s crew lived in the ever-present shadow of risk hundreds of miles away, Fire on the Horizon offers full-scale portraits of the Horizon’s captain, its chief mate, its chief mechanic, and others. What emerges is a white-knuckled chronicle of engineering hubris at odds with the earth itself, an unusual manifestation of corporate greed and the unforgettable heroism of the men and women on board the Deepwater Horizon. Here is the harrowing minute-by-minute account of the fateful day, April 20, 2010, when the half-billion-dollar rig blew up, taking with it the lives of eleven people and leaving behind a swath of unprecedented natural destruction.

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    Fire on the Horizon

    Author’s note read by John Konrad
    Read by Lloyd James
    8.4 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  11. 6.3 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Abridged

    Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, domestic crackdowns, economic collapse, riots, wars, disease, starvation—what can you do when it all hits the fan? You can learn to be self-sufficient and survive without the system. After the last few years of violence and terror, of ethnic and religious hatred, of tsunamis and hurricanes—and now of global financial meltdown—Strauss, like most of his generation, came to the sobering realization that, even in America, anything can happen. But rather than watch helplessly, he decided to do something about it, so he spent three years traveling through a country that has lost its sense of safety, equipping himself with the tools necessary to save himself and his loved ones from an uncertain future. With the same quick wit and eye for cultural trends that marked The Game, The Dirt, and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Emergency traces Neil’s white-knuckled journey through today’s heart of darkness as he sets out to move his life offshore, test his skills in the wild, and remake himself as a gun-toting, plane-flying, government-defying survivor. It’s a tale of paranoid fantasies and crippling doubts, of shady lawyers and dangerous cult leaders, of billionaire gun nuts and survivalist superheroes—of weirdos, heroes, and ordinary citizens going off the grid. It’s one man’s story of a dangerous world—and how to stay alive in it.

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    Emergency

    6.3 hrs • 7/15/12 • Abridged
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  12. 14.1 hrs • 8/16/2011 • Unabridged

    On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people died, and the greater part of the capital was demolished. Dr. Paul Farmer, U.N. deputy special envoy to Haiti, who had worked in the country for nearly thirty years treating infectious diseases like tuberculosis and AIDS had just begun to work on an extensive development plan to improve living conditions in Haiti. Now this project was transformed into a massive international rescue and relief effort. In his own words, Farmer documents this effort, including the harrowing obstacles and the small triumphs. Despite an outpouring of aid, the challenges were astronomical. U.N. plans were crippled by Haiti’s fragile infrastructure and the deaths of U.N. staff members who had been based in Port-au-Prince. In chronicling the relief effort, Farmer draws attention to the social issues that made Haiti so vulnerable to this natural disaster. Yet Farmer’s account is not a gloomy catalog of impenetrable problems. As devastating as Haiti’s circumstances are, its population manages to keep going. Farmer shows how, even in the barest camps, Haitians organize themselves, creating small businesses such as beauty parlors. His narrative is interwoven with stories from Haitians themselves and from doctors and others working on the ground. Ultimately this is a story of human endurance and humility in difficult circumstances and seemingly overwhelming odds.

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    Haiti After the Earthquake

    14.1 hrs • 8/16/11 • Unabridged
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  13. 10.2 hrs • 6/15/2011 • Unabridged

    Warning sirens are blaring. You have fifteen minutes to evacuate. What will you do? Cataclysmic events strike sleepy towns and major cities every year. Residents face escaping quickly or perishing in rising waters, raging fires, or other life-threatening conditions. By the time the evacuation starts, it’s already too late. Being prepared makes the difference between survival and disaster. Guiding you step by step, Bug Out tells you how to be ready at a second’s notice:Create an escape plan for where to go and how to get there.Pack the perfect bug-out bag for the first seventy-two hours.Find food, water, and other necessities outside of civilization. From the Pacific Coast to the Desert Southwest, the Appalachians to the Atlantic Coast, Bug Out includes detailed information on the best escape locations everywhere in the United States to give you a better chance of surviving the next flood, pandemic, earthquake, or wildfire that may be headed your way.

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    Bug Out

    10.2 hrs • 6/15/11 • Unabridged
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  14. 5.3 hrs • 3/29/2011 • Unabridged

    Why do certain civilizations, societies, and ecosystems collapse? How does the domino effect relate to the credit crunch? When can mathematics help explain marriage? And how on earth do toads predict earthquakes? The future is uncertain. But science can help foretell what lies ahead. Drawing on ecology and biology, math and physics, Crashes, Crises, and Calamities offers four fundamental tools that scientists and engineers use to forecast the likelihood of sudden change: stability, catastrophe, complexity, and game theories. In accessible prose, Len Fisher demonstrates how we can foresee and manage events that might otherwise catch us by surprise. At the cutting edge of science, Fisher helps us find ways to act before a full-fledged catastrophe is upon us. Crashes, Crises, and Calamities is a witty and informative exploration of the chaos, complexity, and patterns of our daily lives.

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    Crashes, Crises, and Calamities

    5.3 hrs • 3/29/11 • Unabridged
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  15. 7.7 hrs • 2/14/2011 • Unabridged

    Having had unparalleled access to the Chilean mine disaster, award-winning journalist Jonathan Franklin takes readers to the heart of a remarkable story of human endurance, survival, and historic heroism. 33 Men is the groundbreaking, authoritative account of the Chilean mine disaster, one of the longest human entrapments in history. Rushing to the scene when the miners were discovered, Franklin obtained a coveted “Rescue Team” pass and reported directly from the front lines of the rescue operation, beyond police controls, for six weeks. Based on more than 110 intimate interviews with the miners, their families, and the rescue team, Franklin’s narrative captures the remarkable story of these men and women, in details shocking, beautiful, comedic, and heroic. Gripping and raw with never-before-revealed details, 33 Men is a true story that reads like a thriller.

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    33 Men

    7.7 hrs • 2/14/11 • Unabridged
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  16. 4.4 hrs • 10/15/2010 • Unabridged

    Deepwater Horizon was supposed to be the cutting edge of energy exploration: drilling five thousand feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, the $560 million rig would be indispensable in helping to solve the ongoing energy crisis. Then, on April 20, 2010, BP’s dismal safety record came home to roost. An explosion followed by a massive fireball resulted in eleven lives lost, the sinking of the rig, and the release of millions of barrels of crude oil into one of the world’s prime fishing grounds: tens of millions of barrels suffocate the Gulf’s waters, and the resultant slick covers 2,500 square miles. Wildlife throughout the region is devastated, and so is the human community dependent on harvesting the area’s resources. Now, OR Books has joined with the Natural Resources Defense Council to release In Deep Water, the first book to appear on this environmental catastrophe, the largest offshore spill in American history. Written by Peter Lehner, executive director of the NRDC, together with Bob Deans, this book provides a brief account of the disaster as well as the policy failures that caused it––and lays out a blueprint to avoid similar catastrophes in the future.

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    In Deep Water by Peter Lehner

    In Deep Water

    By Peter Lehner, with Bob Deans
    Read by Tom Weiner
    4.4 hrs • 10/15/10 • Unabridged
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