Combining captivating storytelling with eye-opening findings, Inviting Disaster delves inside some of history's worst catastrophes in order to show how increasingly "smart" systems leave us wide open to human tragedy.
Weaving a dramatic narrative that explains how breakdowns in these systems result in such disasters as the chain reaction crash of the Air France Concorde to the meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station, Chiles vividly demonstrates how the battle between man and machine may be escalating beyond manageable limits and why we all have a stake in its outcome.
Included in this edition is a special introduction providing a behind-the-scenes look at the World Trade Center catastrophe. Combining firsthand accounts of employees' escapes with an in-depth look at the structural reasons behind the towers' collapse, Chiles addresses the question, Were the towers "two tall heroes" or structures with a fatal flaw?
Anyone who's been caught in a traffic jam caused by an accident can attest to what seems to be a universal fascination with disaster. While an engaging topic does not guarantee a good book, this volume on the conflicts between machines and humans is accessible and free of excessive technical jargon. This is not a Luddite's call for a return to the days before complicated technology but a careful examination of various disasters such as Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, the Space Shuttle, and an assortment of industrial and airline accidents and how they might have been prevented. While not all accidents can be avoided, Chiles shows how a large number of them could have been. Chiles contributes regularly to Smithsonian magazine, Audubon, and Air & Space, and the level and style of writing exhibited in these publications is maintained in this text. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. James Olson, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.