Book Review: This Gulf of Fire

This detailed & readable history of the Great Lisbon Earthquake is well worth your time.

On November 1, 1755 – All Saints Day in the Catholic Church – the greatest natural catastrophe in the history of modern Europe took place: the Great Lisbon Earthquake. The earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded, completely destroyed the glittering capital of the Portuguese Empire and claimed victims on four continents. The tremors, along with the resulting tsunami and firestorm, turned Lisbon, previously a cosmopolitan masterpiece of a city replete with imperial grandeur, into a hulking collection of burnt-out ruins. Yet most of us interested in history (even European history) may not have heard of this cataclysmic event or had only heard of it in passing. A 2015 book by historian Mark Molesky seeks to right that wrong and give the Lisbon earthquake its proper historical due as a key event in the European Enlightenment. [Sidebar: Dr. Molesky is one of my professors at Seton Hall University and I have studied under him.]

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On Traffic and Disaster Evacuations

If you have been watching the news or weather at all over the past few weeks, I’m sure you have seen many images that look like this:

Irma Evac 1
Evacuation traffic on northbound Interstate 75 and the Florida Turnpike during the lead-up to Hurricane Irma.  Photo: Andrew West, The (Fort Myers, FL) News-Press

Or perhaps something like this:

Harvey Evac 1
Traffic stalls on Interstate 37 leaving Corpus Christi as the devastating Hurricane Harvey approaches Texas.  Photo: Kevin Steele 12NewsNow via Facebook

You may also have heard about gas shortages, as hundreds of thousands of motorists hit the roads simultaneously to get out of the path of Hurricane Irma, the latest devastating natural disaster to bear down on our nation.Read More »