Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

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Book Review of Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

I have witnessed (on tv) many man-made disasters in my lifetime. One of the first to come to my mind is the explosion of the space shuttle when I was in third grade. I watched it live with the rest of the third grade, and it was traumatic, to say the least. I can also remember hearing about or watching trains derail, airplanes crash, decks collapse, and dams fail. It’s scary every time something like this happens. Lessons are learned, amazing people are there to help, and situations become safer because of these disasters. That is what Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman is about. Borrowman takes the reader through eight man-made disasters, the decisions that led up to them, the heroes that helped, and the lessons that were learned.

Blurb:

 
“A century of the industrial age saw unprecedented leaps in technology and engineering, from the first flight of an airplane to the first flight of humans to the moon. But alongside these awe-inspiring achievements were horrible disasters caused by faulty engineering or careless judgment. Catastrophes and Heroes explores eight such disasters and recognizes the unheralded heroes who stepped up to save others in times of great danger–and the policies that changed as a result.
  • Eight disaster stories spanning the globe and listed in chronological order from 1865 to 1963.
  • Each chapter contains such sections as: The Human Cost of Tragedy, Overview, Fateful Choices, Victims and First Responder Heroes, and Professional Heroes.”

My Book Review:

This well written book goes into great detail about each of these eight disasters. There are train derailments, dam failures, bridge collapses, boat fires, and more. It’s obvious that Borrowman has put a lot of time and effort into his research for this book. For each of the disasters he discusses the people involved, the safety standards of the time, the engineering knowledge of the time, and many of the decisions made leading up to the disaster. He then walks the reader through the disaster, the aftermath, the heroes that helped, and the safety standards that changed as a result.

I had never heard of any of these disasters. I’m even a history lover, and I did not know about any of these situations. As I read, I did find it interesting to learn about what happened in each of these experiences. I especially liked reading about the people who jumped right in to help the victims in their time of need. Another point of interest was learning about the safety changes that occurred because of these catastrophes. Often times we don’t know what needs fixing until it’s too late. Unfortunately, many people lost their lives in these tragedies, but fortunately, changes were made that made all of us safer today.

I liked this book, but it was a bit too depressing for me. Borrowman definitely focused more on the catastrophe part than the hero part, and reading somber story after somber story was a bit much for me. I could only read it a little bit at a time. That being said, I did like learning about the history of it and learning about the heroes who helped in the aftermath. I’m glad that we have record of these disasters so that we do not repeat the mistakes going forward.

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There is minimal profanity; just a couple of words. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is quite a bit of violence as many people were killed or injured in these disasters.)

Recommendation: 16+ (I don’t think children younger would be interested in this topic anyway.)

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2AuTYnu

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Invisible Heroes of WWII by Jerry Borrowman Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard
 

Invisible Heroes of World War II by Jerry Borrowman

Invisible Heroes of WWII by Jerry Borrowman

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Book Review of Invisible Heroes of World War II by Jerry Borrowman

I have read a lot of books about World War II. Some fiction and some nonfiction. Many of them are told from different viewpoints: prisoner of war, concentration camp survivor, little girl, soldier, and even death. This book is different in that it doesn’t follow a storyline. There’s no plot. This book details the experiences of several individuals or groups during World War II. Some of them are men and some of them are women. I especially liked hearing the women’s stories because it doesn’t seem like there are as many out there as there are for the men. Some of the experiences are on the battlefront, and some of them are closer to home. Each story gives you a little more insight into what people went through during the war. It’s always good to remember the past so we don’t need to repeat it. I hope you enjoy my book review of Invisible Heroes of World War II  by Jerry Borrowman.

Blurb:

Invisible Heroes of World War II documents the largely untold true stories of a diverse group of soldiers and noncombatants—men and women—from all over the world who fought with the Allies during World War II. These heroes made significant contributions in the war effort, but often went unnoticed by historical accounts.

Some were frontline soldiers who were captured by the enemy and endured horrific conditions as prisoners of war, others were ordinary citizens who fought in the French Resistance and provided vital operations to undermine Nazi occupation, while others were engineers, industry workers, or war correspondents and photographers. All served with valor and distinction as part of the massive Allied forces who fought to free the world from tyranny and oppression.

  • Features people of diverse backgrounds in age, race, ethnicity, and social status.
  • June 6, 2019 will be the 75th anniversary of D-Day.”

My Book Review:

Each of these stories is so compelling. The first story jumps right into the story of a prisoner of war. It’s a vantage point I have read before, but it starts in the Philippines, which I know I haven’t read about previously. I really had no idea what went on in the Philippines, so it was interesting to read about in detail. After reading Pat Patton’s experience, I can understand why some people had such harsh feelings against the Japanese. Like Louis Zampirini, Pat Patton suffered because of the brutality of his Japanese captors.

Another section of the book talks about Rosie the Riveter and how she came to be.  I liked learning about the different women who worked in plants and factories. It’s interesting how attitudes towards women working outside of the home have changed in the years since World War II. Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl and Charlcia Neumen were just a couple of women featured. They did very different jobs—one making guns and the other riveting planes—but each was an important job that made a big impact. Afterward, Charlcia said,

“It was a very good experience for me because of the challenge of doing something like that, to prove to myself that I could do it…I didn’t think I could do it. So I found out I could do it; it was the type of thing that I could do, that I liked to do.”

I loved learning about the Navajo Code Talkers, the Purple Heart Battalion, Dickey Chapelle, Joseph Medicine Crow, and the engineers and builders. Ok, I really loved reading about all the people in this book. Seriously. It’s so good! The people and groups discussed in this book truly were heroes, and I think it’s imperative for all of us to really think about who we look up to and consider heroes. I added a few heroes to my list after reading this book. 

These are just a few of the remarkable people featured. We can learn so much from each of their experiences. I love that the people and groups spotlighted weren’t necessarily famous or well known.  Normal, ordinary people can achieve amazing things. (Why do we like hearing this? I think we all want hope that we can make a difference in the world even though we don’t think we’re special.) Each story is well written, compelling, and shows a part of the war that we need to remember and learn from. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about these heroes, and I think you will too!

invisible heroes blog tour

Content Rating RRating: R (War-time atrocities–some of them quite graphic.)

Recommendation: 16+ 

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2PNVdBc

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

the book thief by markus zusak Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown