Decade of Disaster

Author: Ann Larabee
Paper – $28
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/10/2000
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About the Book

Focusing on the spectacular disasters of the 1980s—the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Chernobyl meltdown, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, the Bhopal chemical plant release, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic—Ann Larabee examines how culture is reconstructed after disaster through victims' stories, media coverage, and official efforts to restore faith in technology.

Decade of Disaster gives voice to a diverse cast of disaster participants, including Bhopal widows, people with AIDS, Chernobyl tourists, NASA administrators, international nuclear power authorities, and corporate spokespeople. Integrating sources ranging from official reports and scientific studies to news stories, movies, and science fiction novels, Larabee explores the fierce debates that followed these disasters, as government agencies, corporations, public interest groups, academics, and local communities fought to control their meaning. An incisive commentary at the intersection of cultural history and cultural studies, Decade of Disaster peels away layers and screens of rhetoric to expose the underlying process of cultural negotiation.


"In this well-written book Larabee attempts to investigate the dynamics and context of disasters created by human activity. The author approaches the study of disasters from the perspective that the impact of a disaster extends well beyond coping with the disaster itself." — Choice