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Sheva's Promise
Isles of Amnesia
On Democracy
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Searching for Soul
The Battle for Western Europe, Fall 1944
American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking

American DunkirkAmerican Dunkirk

The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11

James M. Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf


Book published by Temple University Press


When the terrorist attacks struck New York City on September 11, 2001, boat operators and waterfront workers quickly realized that they had the skills, the equipment, and the opportunity to take definite, immediate action in responding to the most significant destructive event in the United States in decades. For many of them, they were “doing what needed to be done.” American Dunkirk shows how people, many of whom were volunteers, mobilized rescue efforts in various improvised and spontaneous ways on that fateful date. Disaster experts James Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf examine the efforts through fieldwork and interviews with many of the participants to understand the evacuation and its larger implications for the entire practice of disaster management. The authors ultimately explore how people—as individuals, groups, and formal organizations—pull together to respond to and recover from startling, destructive events. American Dunkirk asks, What can these people

James M. Kendra is a Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.

Tricia Wachtendorf is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware.





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