Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hell on Earth-David L. Porter

Hell on Earth
David L. Porter
Forge, Aug 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765313805

At a time when California struggles again with the annual wild fires and other parts of the country also have trouble from out of control infernos, HELL ON EARTH is a timely insightful look at what is going on. The author somewhat personalizes his account by telling how he felt when his own house was destroyed during the 2003 season. However, much of the book is making a scientific case that it will get worse not better based on the combination of global warming and the political and public indifference to the fires (except when a person is personally involved). David L. Porter believes the firestorms have not yet had its perfect storm yet though have come close. The environmental disaster is a Catch 22 as the warmer climate brings in new predators destroying trees and the fires devastating much more adding CO2 into the atmosphere to warm the climate even further. Although well written with a strong scientific case for action and containing many anecdotal examples and showing somewhat the heroic side of the fire fighters and their frustrations, Mr. Porter fails to put a victim’s face on the fires. He mentions names, but never really digs deep into those who lost their lives, loved ones, or property. Still in fairness his premise is to argue we can win the wildfire war, but must take action now starting with declaring war. This is an interesting cautionary book that warns HELL ON EARTH has only begun.

Harriet Klausner

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