Cover image for From the Titanic to the Challenger : an annotated bibliography on technological failures of the twentieth century
From the Titanic to the Challenger : an annotated bibliography on technological failures of the twentieth century
Herring, Susan Davis, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Garland Pub., 1989.
Physical Description:
xxv, 459 pages ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library TA169.5 .H47 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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An annotated bibliography, with over 1,200 entries. Includes items ranging from eyewitness accounts of disasters to official inquiry reports. References include newspapers and magazines, scholarly and trade journals, books, hearings, and technical reports. Incidents are arranged under general topic headings such as aircraft, bridges, dams, and nuclear plants, and are listed by specific disasters. Each entry includes a full bibliographic citation and a brief annotation indicating level of coverage, contents and emphasis. Includes a chronological listing and an author index. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

The continuous reporting and study of human-induced disasters in this technological age makes this a worthwhile reference. This covers a span of 80 years and over 100 incidents--from the 1907 collapse of a bridge over the St. Lawrence River to the Chernobyl plant explosion in 1986. Covered here are dozens of airplane accidents, the major space program failures (including Russian ones), and a number of nuclear-reactor mishaps. Arrangement is by general topic, 16 in all, with the individual disaster listed within its topic. Bibliographic citations are given chronologically, with book citations preceding article citations. A brief annotation for each citation gives an idea of coverage, but there is no general description of each disaster to orient the researcher unfamiliar with the incident. A chronological listing of disasters and several useful indexes are also given. Highly recommended for all reference collections.-- Daniel LaRossa, Connetquot P.L., Bohemia, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Engineering design failures from the collapse of the Quebec Bridge in 1907 to the nuclear reactor explosion at Chernobyl in 1986 are identified in this inventive and highly selective bibliography which documents each event with a range of carefully chosen publications: technical reports, articles in engineering journals, books, and popular magazine articles. The compiler's purpose, displayed in meticulously prepared abstracts, is clearly to promote an understanding of the complex technical, social, psychological, and cultural factors involved in technical failures as well as human reactions to these catastrophes. It is interesting to notice, for instance, that every publication on Chernobyl refers to the event as an "accident." The bibliography groups the 170 failures by form of technology such as aircraft, bridges, commercial structures, dams, nuclear reactors, ships, and spacecraft. Along with author and title indexes, there is an effective "Mode of Failure Index" which indicates that corrosion, fatigue, maintenance, and safety inadequacies have been major causal agents. The "Chronological Listing" illustrates the increase of failure events as our technologies become so complex and independent of human control. Coverage of railroads and waste disposal is rather meager as is the "General" section where collections of case studies and ethical considerations are listed. S.C. Florman's Blaming Technology (1981) and M.W. Martin and R. Schinzinger's Ethics in Engineering (1983) are absent. Nevertheless, highly useful to students and researchers dealing with engineering design, science/technology/society studies, and technical writing. -J. A. Adams, SUNY at Buffalo

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