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These four essays would make an excellent introduction to anyone starting a formal programme of study in this discipline. They should also be of interest to the thoughtful practitioner and the policy-writer. This is partly because there is a definite air of the manifesto about them; the writer lays out, with admirable brevity, the basic elements of an intellectual approach that should be got clear and correct - from the beginning of any serious thinking about disasters. The style and tone is very accessible and the arguments are clear. The entire paper should take less than 2 hours to read, but (hopefully) a lot longer to reflect on. It will definitely reward that small investment of time.