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Why does government sometimes do a superlative job handling natural disaster situations while at other times, as in the case of Hurricane Katrina, it performs extremely poorly? Now updated with examples through 2010, this classic study examines the disruptive effects of disasters on patterns of human behavior and the routine operations of government, and the conditions under which even relatively minor crises can lead to system breakdown. Integrating case studies of emergency management with studies of collective behavior, the author identifies factors that contribute to successful government handling of disaster situations and distills insights that can be used to improve these capacities at all levels--federal, state, and local. The book includes numerous illustrations as well as expanded coverage of research on disaster management and greatly expanded reference lists.