This unique take on how the course of history changes when nature and civilization collide can be read cover to cover as a narrative or used like an encyclopedia. An earthquake enthusiast can hone in on the eight chapters dedicated to the subject or browse topics ranging from the Chicago fire, to the AIDS epidemic, the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl and even St. Lucia’s flood in the 13th century. Organized chronologically starting at 37,000 BCE and continuing up to the present day with the Ebola outbreak of 2014 and the looming disaster of climate change, Gale Eaton creates a fascinating approach to history that casual readers as well as budding history buffs will be enthralled by. With a plethora of sources for further reading, charts and maps for visual aid, and an extensive glossary, A History of Civilization in 50 Disasters can also be used as a supplement for school research and reports. Although some vocabulary is quite complicated for children still in elementary school and a lot of information is packed in, each chapter is a manageable bite-sized length of 2-5 pages and the subject matter is exciting enough to capture nearly anyone’s attention. However, it should be noted that some readers may find these events more shocking than exciting, especially when combined with the occasional photo of the destructive aftermath. Whether you want to stock up on fun facts or get a head start on that history or social studies report, A History of Civilization in 50 Disasters could be just what you’re looking for.

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