This book is a catalog of disaster – literally. Within its pages are the major man-made calamities that shocked the world throughout the twentieth century.
It was a period during which the power and scale of industrialization changed the planet, an unforeseen consequence being the creation of more human-created catastrophes than ever before experienced.
The events recorded here include the needless carnage of history’s worst air disaster when two jumbo jets collided on the island of Tenerife. We recall the horrors of Aberfan, the Welsh village in which schoolchildren were buried alive. The story of the explosion aboard the Challenger space shuttle reveals how warnings that were ignored led to the deaths of seven astronauts. And we report on the failings that caused the nuclear nightmare at Chernobyl, a poisonous blot on the face of the globe.
These and the other misadventures in this book were all man-made and, it seems, just waiting to happen. A further link between these horrific events is that they were all caused by either folly or greed – or both.
But despite the tales of monstrous misfortune, many also produced heart-lifting stories of human resilience, selflessness, sacrifice and heroism.