Books about disasters make for compelling true stories that give us a look into real events. They can be difficult reads as we journey with both heroic and flawed characters through the story. The moral choices that these types of book can offer really can get us thinking about how we might respond or act in the different situations. They provide us with those character tests. Here is a list of some of our books found in our non-fiction collection:
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer DB 44525
A journalist’s first-hand report on the ill-fated Mt. Everest expedition of May 1996 in which a freak storm claimed the lives of nine adventurers. Describes the grueling ascent of the climbers, their sense of elation at reaching the peak, and the tragic events that followed. Strong language. Bestseller. 1997.
Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Paul Piers Read DB54741
The ordeal of sixteen young Uruguayan men who survived seventy days in the Andes after a plane crash in 1972. Facing starvation, they were forced to make an agonizing choice between cannibalism and death. 1974.
Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home by Nando Parrado BR 16868, DB65781
A Uruguayan rugby player recounts surviving the 1972 plane crash that is remembered for causing acts of heroism and cannibalism. Discusses the physical perils of subzero weather, the group’s reaction upon hearing that the rescue operation was called off, and the author’s hike over the mountains for help. 2006.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers DB 69795
Describes the experiences of the owner of a New Orleans house-painting business during the 2005 Katrina hurricane and flood. Recounts the fleeing of Syrian American Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s wife and children, Zeitoun’s decision to stay and help neighbors and clients, and his consequently inexplicable imprisonment and inability to contact family. Bestseller. 2009.
102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer DB 59954
Reporters interview survivors and read radio transcripts, phone messages, e-mails, and other accounts to describe conditions inside the World Trade Center between the first terrorist attack and the towers’ collapse on September 11, 2001. Documents communication problems, agency in-fighting, and building structural failures that caused unnecessary deaths. Bestseller. 2005. Co-author is Kevin Flynn.
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord LT5408, BR11461, DB09698
A detailed portrayal of what happened aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg and began to sink in the North Atlantic on April 14, 1912. Based on account of the survivors from first class passengers to steerage and crew. Bestseller. 1955.
The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough DB50905
A vivid description of the causes and effects of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood of 1889 that killed thousands. Based on first-person accounts of the tragedy that occurred when a man-made dam broke, flooding the entire valley with twenty million tons of water and debris. 1968.
Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink DB77656
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist reports on the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. Reconstructs the five days it took to rescue the hospital’s staff and patients and examines the life-and-death decisions made and the lawsuits that followed. 2013.
Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo DB59335
Chronicle of the Boston waterfront’s molasses tank collapse that flooded the city’s North End with a sticky twenty-five-foot-high tidal wave, killing twenty-one people. Explores the tragedy from the tank’s 1915 construction to a civil lawsuit decided in 1925 and touches larger issues of immigration, WWI, Prohibition, and labor.