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 A Paradise Built in Hell

The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

by Rebecca Solnit

"Media reports of disaster emphasize tragedy but what of triumph? Rebecca Solnit examines in depth a number of case studies, including the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, the Halifax explosion of 1917, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, New York’s 9/11, and New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina in 2005.... myths about human behavior are widely held and perpetuate “elite panic” – a fear-driven over-reaction based on the assumption that people will behave like criminals.  As disaster researchers know, the empirical evidence is that ordinary people tend to respond to disasters with astonishing altruism. Panic and exploitative behavior are rare." -- Karen Guttieri, Naval Postgraduate School