ISTE Press Ltd.; Elsevier.com; 424 pages; $175.
The 24 chapters in Floods: Volume 2—Risk Management are written by contributing authors and edited by Freddy Vinet. Most of the authors hail from France and all are knowledgeable in crisis management and emergency planning. The chapters are interwoven effectively so there is no loss of continuity. Some chapters focus on technical matters, while others deal with operations. However, the combination of topics and styles keeps the reader interested.
Today, many organizations and agencies take an all-hazards approach to emergency management, but this book isolates one segment of a disaster—the flood. It delves into flood defense systems and flooding challenges. For readers who are not familiar with floods, the authors discuss the International Levee Handbook, which incorporates three main issues: external erosion, internal erosion, and instabilities.
The levee assessment and system risk analysis used globally today are discussed. Other topics include fragile and flood-prone areas around the world, including along the Yangtze River in China, the Mississippi and St. Louis Rivers in the United States, and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.
Societal challenges to flood mitigation, as the world learns more about dealing with severe weather, include the economic failure of government and business to prioritize these issues. It is also progressively problematic to circumvent the urbanization or development of potential flood zones.
The book explores current strategies to reduce the impact of flooding by incorporating crisis management theories and focusing on the reconfiguration and design of flooding structures. The authors discuss natural approaches, cost and benefit analysis, geography, and history to support their ideas and provide viable options for society. Emergency managers, governmental agencies, and professors in this field will find the book informative.
Reviewer: Kevin Cassidy is a professor in the Security, Fire, and Emergency Management Department at John Jay College. He is a member of ASIS.