My contributions here are often written in a minor key. I've written or facilitated several articles about North Korea, bear attacks, cannibals, and lost expeditions (some involving cannibalism). This is not even my first post about TEOTWAWKI, or The End Of The World As We Know It. But no one told me there'd be days like these.
I'm no naïf. My memory begins with the ends of Nixon and Vietnam. I remember the oil crisis, the Iranian hostage crisis, and the Three Mile Island crisis. I remember when would-be assassins shot Reagan and the Pope. They survived, but Sadat and (and later Rabin) did not, along with peace in the Middle East. Lennon died for less than nothing. For a while, Ted Bundy worked my town, back when I first learned about greenhouse gases. The Cold War and the insipid threat of Mutual Assured Destruction - the most apt acronym of all time - shadowed my adolescence, to the point that I once awoke in the middle of a thunderstorm thinking that the bombs were dropping. (As if being a teenager weren't enough.) In high school - literally, in class, on TV - I watched a Space Shuttle explode on a sunny Florida morning and a nuclear power plant melt down on a cloudy day in the Ukraine. Somalia, Kenya, Beirut, and Benghazi; Panama and Grenada; Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Oklahoma City and September 11.
The world has never seen a shortage of strife, suffering, and chaos; all you have to do is pay attention. But the headlines - out of North Korea, Charlottesville, Ferguson, the West Wing, or wherever - are now coming at what must be an unprecedented pace, so fast that I have a hard time believing that anybody paying attention is getting anything done. So how about a distraction: A list of books (mostly) about all the other ways the world could end! (Did we survive the total eclipse?)
Strange days, indeed. Okay, let's go.
See also: Cascadia's Fault: The Coming Earthquake and Tsunami that Could Devastate North America by Jerry Thompson
See also: Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It
Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland
How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower by Adrian Goldsworthy
See also: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan
For a different take: Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West by John Fleck
See our pictorial with commentary from Eruption author Steve Olson.
See also: The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids--and the Kids We Have by Bonnie Rochman
See also: Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future by Edward Struzik (October 5)
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See also: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
See also:Strategic Nuclear Weapons (Operations Manual) by David Baker
Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters: From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima by James Mahaffey
You might also like:
- It's Not Dark Yet, But It's Getting There: Books and Things for the Solar Eclipse
- Inside North Korea, Last Week's Looming Threat
- We're All Gonna Die! (Unless You Read This Post)
- "We Should Have Brought More Pemmican" (Polar Voyages Gone Wrong)
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