ACTS OF GOD, ACTS OF MAN by Wesley Marx

ACTS OF GOD, ACTS OF MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

If ecology were a language, then Wesley Marx would be counted among the most fluent. Acts of God, Acts of Man is a rueful survey of humankind's predeliction to court, even encourage disaster. People cluster housing along the San Andreas fault, and seem drawn to floodplains, volcanic valleys, scenic coasts with soft bottoms and tottering bluffs. When disaster strikes it is nature's fault and the government's obligation to pay. Marx makes a strong case that nature is hardly ever blamable and almost always gives fair warning so that there is time to take cover or evacuate. Moreover earthly upheavals often benefit the land. Where would one cradle of civilization have been were it not for the annual flooding of the Nile? Disaster insurance, Marx argues, should be supplanted by hazard planning--knowing the terrain, avoiding or minimizing risks through careful cooperation with nature. His message is all the more meaningful in the light of the tendency of developing countries to repeat the errors of urbanization or technologically advanced countries to practice weather modification. Marx has done an excellent job of marshaling the facts that point to the many foolish acts of man. The hope expressed is that wisdom can yet prevail--if people and their elected representatives so ordain.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1977
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan