Su­per­storm Sandy

The In­evitable De­struc­tion and Re­con­struc­tion of the Jer­sey Shore

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Climate Change -

Diane C. Bates, Rut­gers Univer­sity Press Soft­cover $27.95 (180pp), 978-0-8135-7339-7

In a con­cise but mean­ing­ful way, Su­per­storm Sandy sum­ma­rizes the state of New Jer­sey’s re­sponse to 2012’s dev­as­tat­ing Hur­ri­cane Sandy. To do this, the book ex­am­ines the state from his­tor­i­cal, po­lit­i­cal, and sev­eral so­cioe­co­nomic per­spec­tives to de­ter­mine how its cir­cum­stances im­pacted its re­sponse.

The book ref­er­ences cli­mate change in its con­clu­sion, but pri­mar­ily fo­cuses on the so­ci­o­log­i­cal fall­out of Su­per­storm Sandy along the New Jer­sey shore. It also ref­er­ences the re­cent rise of tan­dem en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­ci­o­log­i­cal ar­eas of study. Anal­y­sis of storm re­siliency be­tween dif­fer­ent classes fea­tures promi­nently through­out the book, es­pe­cially high­light­ing the his­toric ten­sion be­tween New Jer­sey’s blue-col­lar year-round res­i­dents, who pro­duced the likes of Bruce Spring­steen, and the wealth­ier tourists from out-of-state who make the re­sorts, va­ca­tion homes, and board­walks such a suc­cess. In ex­am­in­ing the roots of New Jer­sey’s storm re­sponse, Bates tracks his­tor­i­cal data sets, in­clud­ing eth­nic mi­gra­tions and the rise of casi­nos, to pro­vide a frame­work for the com­mu­nity-level re­sponse to Sandy. The re­sult is a com­pre­hen­sive view of the en­tire state from its foun­da­tion to the mod­ern day. While the book is use­ful as an ex­am­i­na­tion of the roots of the fed­eral, state, and lo­cal re­ac­tion to Sandy, it could al­most stand alone as a quick so­cioe­co­nomic his­tory of the en­tire state of New Jer­sey.

The fi­nal chap­ter, where the au­thor dis­cusses her fam­ily’s ex­pe­ri­ence with the storm, is es­pe­cially use­ful in that it places the pre­vi­ous, more cere­bral chap­ters into im­me­di­ate con­text.

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