Masters of Disaster: The Political and Leadership Lessons of America’s Greatest Disasters
By: David Silverberg
Masters of Disaster is the story of people who took charge during the greatest disasters in American history and through extraordinary actions confronted and mastered the challenges facing them.
The disasters chronicled here are the most overwhelming natural and manmade calamities ever to face the United States: The Great Chicago Fire of 1871; the San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the epic floods of 1927; Hurricane Camille in 1969; the New York terrorist attacks of 2001 and the California wildfires of 2007. In each case leaders demonstrated great virtues in responding to events.
In chapters on each disaster, the book chronicles how leaders responded and examines their backgrounds, the circumstances, the settings and the strengths these individuals displayed.
A second section examines the greatest failures of leaders in the face of a disaster-the city, state and presidential shortcomings of Hurricane Katrina and the challenge of great blizzards-as well as the rise of the public’s expectation of swift and effective response to any disaster.
The epilogue brings the story up to date and looks ahead to the challenges sure to come. An appendix provides the lessons learned and makes recommendations for leaders in dealing with future disasters.