"In this period of ecological, social, and economic collapse, How The World Breaks is a must-read for all."
—Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya
"Think climate change is a far off, distant threat? Then think again. In their must-read new book How The World Breaks, father and son team Stan and Paul Cox travel the world exploring how the devastating impacts of disasters are made notably worse by human-caused climate change."
—Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor, Penn State University, and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
"A devastating account of how regular working people show great bravery and generosity in the face of disaster, but also how the sheer number of disasters can overwhelm a society’s ability to recover."
—Erik Loomis, author of Out of Sight
"A frightening, from-the-trenches overview of 'natural' and man-made disasters—and responses to them—across the globe."
—Kirkus Reviews >
"Scientist Stan and anthropologist Paul, father-and-son ecological investigators, travel the world on a grand tour of recent geoclimatic disasters in order to imagine how human habitats will change as the planet becomes warmer, wetter, and more crowded. . . . Attempting to address these and other pressing ecological quandaries leads them to make some intriguing intellectual connections: they touch upon cultural anthropology, Enlightenment literature, Ponzi scheming, and real-life engineering that sounds like science fiction. While definitive answers remain difficult to come by, their message is clear: solving the ecological problems of climate change requires more than technological fixes."
—Publishers' Weekly >
"This book uses specific examples from around the globe to illustrate the magnitude of destruction from fire, floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and windstorms. After each event, the powers that be praise the resilience of nature and the people affected. However, Stan Cox (research coordinator, Land Inst.; Losing Our Cool; Any Way You Slice It) and anthropologist and writer Paul Cox (Disasters; The New Inquiry) point out that these words cover up the truth: that with proper preparation by these same people, the devastation could have been much less severe. In fact, human activities that involve modification of the natural terrain and waterways and, of course, global warming are significant factors in exacerbating problems. . . . Highly recommended to general science readers, this work should be read by those responsible for making major policy decisions."
—Harold D. Shane, Mathematics Emeritus, Baruch Coll. Lib., CUNY, reviewing in Library Journal >
"The Coxes ask a simple question: How long can these new frontiers hold, before we are all vulnerable? In doing so, they have done a remarkable job of putting a human face on a series of disasters normally overlooked or quickly forgotten. Whatever one thinks of the Coxes’ economic or social analysis, one thing is clear: If natural disasters continue to increase both in terms of sheer destructive force and frequency, then the questions compelled by these disasters will not just apply to those in faraway lands, but to our friends, family members and ourselves."
—James Mumford reviewing on Truthdig >
"This book, crafted with stunning, moving, and crisp story-telling, settles the score about the stark human fingerprint on our own civilization’s agonies and misfortunes. It is clearly a battle we cannot afford to lose, and How The World Breaks is the reality jolt we need. I will hold Stan and Paul Cox responsible for that day when we walk towards a new dawn declaring triumph over the madness."
—Yeb Saño, former lead climate negotiator for the Philippines
"This is an important book. The Coxes with eyes wide deep see beneath the shimmering surface of progress and development. They name our demons, revealing how the assumptions we make for the sake of our behavior are burdening to death the most vulnerable people of the world and accelerating our demise."
—Godfrey Reggio, director of Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, and Naqoyqatsi
"With powerful prose and meticulous scrutiny, How The World Breaks strips naked the dynamics of risk creation and the consequent disasters. Alternating chapters of keen analysis and veracious case studies elucidate the false notion that disasters bring about beneficial change, demonstrate who profits as opposed to who pays the price, and illuminate how failed disaster policies have led to horrific duress. A must-read for everyone in all the fields relating to disaster studies, and indeed all who are asking what is breaking apart the world today."
—Susanna Hoffman, disaster anthropologist and editor of The Angry Earth
"To understand the landscape of catastrophe in a warming world, get the revelatory new book from Stan Cox and Paul Cox"
— Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
"I found How The World Breaks intriguing and unexpected in how it uses major disasters to illuminate inequalities of both wealth and power—and cases where a society acted wisely."
—Adam Hochschild, co-founder of Mother Jones and author of King Leopold's Ghost