Book Description

From Library Journal This fascinating reference book provides detailed case studies of more than 100 significant failures of modern technology. The incidents covered represent a variety of fields, ranging from transportation to civil engineering to the environment and include notable disasters involving aircraft and other vehicles, bridges and buildings, chemical facilities, medicine, spacecraft, and nuclear power. Arranged by broad subject categories and often accompanied by photos, charts, and diagrams, the 1000- to 1500-word entries are written by experts who discuss the background, details, and impact of the event. Each entry concludes with a list of sources for further study. This work offers an interesting perspective on our technological failures and valuable insight into their background, causes, and effects. Recommended for most libraries.- Joe Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., ChicagoCopyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more From Booklist This fascinating new book chronicles such significant twentieth-century technological failures as the Hindenburgh, Love Canal, the Challenger, and thalidomide. Assisted by contributing editor Leonard Bruno, senior science specialist at the Library of Congress, and several distinguished advisers, Schlager has compiled entries on 103 technological disasters in a wide variety of fields. Entries were written by contributors who are experts in science, architecture, and engineering or journalists who specialize in technological subjects.The book is international in scope and surveys 12 fields, such as automobiles, bridges, dams, and submarines. The fields are arranged alphabetically and within each, entries are arranged chronologically. All are signed and written in a nontechnical style comprehensible to the average educated adult. Each entry is in the same format. A heading notes the place and date of the disaster, and a one-sentence description gives the significance of the incident. A background section relates how the project was designed. This is followed by sections detailing the disaster and the impact it has had on the field. Rounding out each article is a bibliography listing a handful of books and articles, though some are more extensive, e.g., Chernobyl has 18 citations. Appropriately placed throughout the text are approximately 150 black-and-white photographs and line drawings.Facilitating use of this work is a table of contents with a one-sentence annotation for each entry. The contributors list notes affiliation, expertise area, and publications. A chronology lists the events. Concluding the volume is a bibliography that cites 49 books and a detailed index.There are a number of reference books on disasters; Man-Made Catastrophes [RBB Ja 1 93] invites comparison. It covers disasters from ancient times to the present, rather than just the twentieth century. There is some duplication in disasters covered, but the two books have different purposes. Man-Made Catastrophes recounts the human tragedy while When Technology Fails emphasizes the technological significance of the event and what we can learn from it. Thus, these two titles are complementary. High-school, college, and public libraries will want to consider adding When Technology Fails to their collections. Read more

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