Wave of Destruction The Stories of Four Families and

Wave of Destruction The Stories of Four Families and History's Deadliest Tsunami This exuisitely written book puts a human face on the tragedy of last year's Southeast Asian tsunami through the heartbreaking and heroic stories of four who survived this cataclysmic natural disasterErich Krauss arrived in the Thai village of Nam Keam on a relief truck 12 days after an underwater earthuake of unimaginable magnitude erupted across the ocean floor and unleashed a tsunami that destroyed millions of lives and decimated the coastline of Southeast Asia Wandering around the wreckage in a contamination suit trying to deliver food and water he found survivors desperate to tell him what their village had been like and how their lives had been changed forever In Wave of Destruction Krauss shares the pain and privation of four villagers who made it through alive only to bury their family and friendsBeginning with their fight for life as a 40 foot wave crashed down upon their community and ending with their slow confusing uest to rebuild after the last of the bodies had been buried Krauss unveils the actions and thoughts of ordinary people who were forced to brave extraordinary circumstances Much like John Hersey did in his acclaimed book Hiroshima Krauss a gifted writer and expert in Thai culture allows the reader to experience one of the worst disasters the world has ever known—through the eyes of those who will never be able to forget I picked this book up because I'm planning a trip to thailand and I always like looking into nonfiction books about major events in teh area This book did not dissapoint giving me a great run down on the Tsunami and how it affected people at tehe personal level In addition it gave me a better sense of culture for the area Poignat well researched and well written I defintily recommend to anyone trying to improve their understanding of the 2004 tsunami Great personal stories of tragedy and resilience from Nam Khem after the 2004 Indian tsunami Author did an amazing job of introducing the characters to the reader and telling the reader how the events unfolded that day and the aftermath I didn't like the way the author portrayed the Christian missionaries but unfortunately his account in this case may be accurate That was a very small part of the book and was part of the story so I don't fault him for including just wish it weren't true It is easy to have compassion on the subjects of this book as they represent the sort of Thai person I knew well when I lived in the country even though I lived in the northern part of the country and not in the area near Phuket which is where this book is focused  The author himself is one of those humanitarians who visited Thailand in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and when he wasn't busy helping to clean up the destruction in and around Phuket he showed himself willing to listen to the stories of four families of survivors who had even before the tsunami lived difficult lives that demonstrate the struggles that are faced by the common people of Thailand  The author writes with compassion and gets a sense of the horror as well as the resilience shown by the people of Thailand in the face of a disaster to massive and destructive to comprehend or cope with  This is the sort of book that can only be written by someone who tries his best to capture what others are saying and who is not trying to win any elections in Thailand's parliament and it does not speak very kindly to the state of politics and economics in that countryThis book is a bit than 200 pages long and it is divided into four parts and 32 short chapters that focus on the intersecting lives of four poor families in the area of Nam Khem  The first part of the book contains eight chapters and focuses on the lives of four families in Nam Khem  We see an area grow due to fishing and tin mining and the construction of resorts and how the combination of insecure land tenure and a lack of concern by local authorities let a generally lawless area grow up with brothels and high crime and violence where the military were not often good guys even where they were present  After that there are ten chapters that deal with the catastrophic destruction of the 2004 tsunami and how it affected the four families differently although all managed to have surviving family members and a great many dead children siblings parents and other relatives  The third part of the book shows the poignant hunt for the missing a hunt that was actively hindered by the local hospital being totally overrun as well as the efforts on a part of local property holders to hinder the search of those they considered politically unreliable  Finally the fourth part of the book looks at the long and difficult road to recovery faced by the traumatized survivors after which the author discusses his own involvement with interviewing and listening to the survivors and their painful storiesAfter finishing this heartrending account one wonders if there will be a follow up written to this book that indicates how well or poorly the people discussed in this book dealt with the cleanup that followed the tsunami  The four families involved in this story all faced different threats and concerns and it would be good to know if they were able to struggle on after their heavy losses and if Thailand provided opportunity for them to recover some measure of stability and prosperity  One has a particular degree of concern for the family of community organizers who sought to fight against the land seizure by a corrupt company in cahoots with the local military political and business elites as such community focus does not usually end well in Thailand given their immensely corrupt crony political system  Similarly the blind Puek and the fisherman Wimon are similarly sufficiently vulnerable people as is Wichien survivor of various pirate expeditions conducted illegally in coastal Burma  How have such people overcome the traumas and trouble of their past and the loss of thousands of their neighbors and many of their own family members in an incomprehensible natural disaster like that of the 2004 tsunami? I remember the Boxing Day Tsunami well I was only 14 or so but I remember seeing the death toll rising seeing videos and images of the waves and their aftermath the donation box set up in our school lunch line I have always had a sort of fascination with this horrible disaster When I found Wave of Destruction on my library shelf I immediately checked it out hoping to learn After a very slow start the horror began Krauss's description of the waves the death and destruction from the viewpoints of locals and natives was almost too much to handle I learned about the violence these waves carried with them the ability to rip off ones clothing crumple metal as if it was paper I had no idea there was than one wave four to be exact Finally after all the waves receded horror came The search for survivors recovery of countless dead bodies infected wounds fear and uncertainty and finally the looting thieving and greed I had no idea how selfish and greedy people were after the tsunami it left me seething In all honesty I was bored by the first half or so of this book The author started 20 or so years before the wave I suppose to give us a fuller picture of who these people were but it was just too much background information for me The rest of the book the waves searching and recovery was well paced and informative It doesn't feel right to say I enjoyed this book but I am glad that I was able to learn about this horrible disaster and how it affected people than what was shown on TV

  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • Wave of Destruction The Stories of Four Families and History's Deadliest Tsunami
  • Erich Krauss
  • English
  • 10 October 2014
  • 9781594863783

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