Introduction: Hometown blues -- Return of the suppressed. Last call for judgment day ; Disaster as archetype ; Do-it-yourself deathscape ; Body counting -- Federalizing risk. Building for apocalypse ; Uncle Sam: floodplain recidivist ; Interlude: the perils of private property -- Containing calamity. The neurotic life of weather control ; Forecasting at the fair weather service ; Who pays? -- Epilogue: Remembering McKinneysburg. "The ten most costly catastrophes in U.S. history have all been natural disasters - seven of them hurricanes - and all have occurred since 1989, a period, ironically, that Congress has dubbed the Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. But is nature to blame? In fact, as environmental historian Ted Steinberg explains, much of the death and destruction has been well within the realm of human control. Surveying more than a century of losses from weather and seismic extremes, Steinberg exposes the fallacy of seeing such calamities as simply random events." "Acts of God explores the unnatural history of natural calamity, the decisions of business leaders and government officials that have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows - America's poor, elderly, and minorities. Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg argues, has helped to obscure the fact that, in truth, some Americans are better protected from the violence of nature than their counterparts lower down the socioeconomic ladder. How else can we explain that the hardest hit areas have been mobile home parks and other low-income neighborhoods?" "Sure to provoke discussion, Acts of God is a call to action that must be heard before the next disaster hits."--Jacket.