My indispensible accomplice in much of the work has been Noah McClain, first as a Ph.D. student and then as my coinvestigator of the New York City subways. His dedicated effort, insights, and nose for news inflect all the chapters, even on matters he has no idea he helped me access. My debt to him, continuing as he moves forward with his own academic career, is fulsome and a great pleasure to acknowledge.
Several others played key roles. Lee (aka “Chip”) Clarke, sociologist at Rutgers University, worked both harder and with greater expertise that did I as we conducted our research in New Orleans, now only very partially represented by materials in chapter 6 on the Katrina disaster. In addition to walking me through the bayous of risk, technology, and ways to generate interviews, he read every chapter of this book and offered constructive suggestions, large and small. He is a model coworker.
Christina Nippert-Eng did the unheard of thing: she came to Manhattan and devoted several days to teaching Noah McClain and myself how to look closely in the subways: the details of work being done, objects in interaction with passengers, sounds and sights all around. She is an empiricist’s empiricist; she got down and dirty with us— literally. When I was readying this manuscript for publication, she read the whole thing, making countless suggestions, always helping to make my points more convincing to others. Wow, what a colleague. Another close reader of it all was my friend Howard Rubinstein, a renegade New York banker, whose acerbic commentaries caused me to take a harder line against idiocy, “what a bunch of jerks,” as he would put it.
With their own hands deep in the realm of disaster studies, especially of the Gulf region, Shirley Laska and Robert Gramling lent unique support. Both were generous with their time and with details, answering my often naive questions. Shirley read the New Orleans chapter,