In the years spent researching and writing this book, I was fortunate to be able to draw on the support and encouragement of many colleagues, family members, and friends. Joel Best deserves special mention for seeing promise in this project when it was little more than an unformed collection of potentially interesting ideas and for providing invaluable feedback as the chapters began to take shape. Although the words on these pages are mine alone, I am certain that this book owes part of its existence to his valued contributions as a mentor and friend.
I am indebted to other academic colleagues who graciously made themselves available to discuss this research with me or read through drafts of the book’s chapters along the way. Among them are Benigno Aguirre, Nancy Berns, Anne Bowler, David Bromley, Hank Fischer, Carol Gregory, Andrew Hochstetler, Joanne Nigg, Anastasia Prokos, David Schweingruber, Robert Stallings, Chris Steinbrecher, and Joe Trainor. My thanks also to Victor Argothy, Lauren Barsky, Rory Connell, Russell Dynes, Dana Hysock, Henry Quarantelli, Gabriel Santos, Kathleen Tierney, Manuel Torres, Tricia Wachtendorf, and the rest of the faculty and staff at the Disaster Research Center (DRC). My tenure at the center provided me with lasting friendships, taught me important lessons about the practice and politics of a life of research, and informed my initial ideas for this work. In fact, my inclusion as a member of the DRC’s field research team dispatched to New York City following the September 11 attacks provided the serendipitous spark for this project and served as a reservoir of inspiration that helped me sustain my focus and passion for this research throughout the preparation of this book.
It has been a pleasure to work with New York University Press on this project. I particularly want to thank my editor, Ilene Kalish, for her guidance and continued patience, even as the manuscript remained a “work in progress” for longer than expected. This book also benefited from the insightful comments offered by the anonymous reviewers and the administrative assistance provided by Aiden Amos and the rest of the NYU Press staff.