Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser
for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.
Heat waves, unlike tornadoes or earthquakes, rarely leave attention-grabbing
physical devastation in their wake, yet Chicago's heat wave of July 13-20,
1995, which resulted in 521 heat-related deaths that month, provided many
opportunities for sensationalized journalism. Heat Wave, sociologist Klinenberg's carefully crafted "social autopsy," questions
the "naturalness" of this tragic event and examines its portrayal in the media.
In his hard-hitting investigation, Klinenberg provides a riveting account
of Chicago's heat wave that delves into the processes leading to social isolation,
the social and built ecology of urban neighborhoods, and the failure of city,
state, and federal governments to prevent or respond to a public health crisis.
Klinenberg incorporates sociology, geography, and political science to explain
the etiology of a disaster and persuades the reader that Chicago's epidemic
of heat wave deaths was only partially due to natural causes.
Smoyer Tomic KE. Heat Wave. JAMA. 2003;289(12):1573-1574. doi:10.1001/jama.289.12.1573