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Five Past Midnight In Bhopal: The Epic Story Of The World's Deadliest Industrial Disaster (2003)

Five Past Midnight in Bhopal: The Epic Story of the World's Deadliest Industrial Disaster (2003)
Rating
4.09 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0446690783 (ISBN13: 9780446690782)
languge
English
genre
publisher
warner books (ny)
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Five Past Midnight In Bhopal: The Epi...
Five Past Midnight In Bhopal: The Epic Story Of The World's Deadliest Industrial Disaster (2003)

About book: I remember the Bopal industrial disaster but not in any great detail when it actually occured and this is to my detriment. I wanted to learn about what actually happened as I still only have the vaguest recollections of Union Carbide and no real conception of the events that led to this disaster, or even it's true scope and legacy. I would like to have heard more on the legacy actually, but overall I enjoyed this book and I found the approach very well done.Books about disasters work best for me when they balance four elements in the account:1. Historical context - so we understand the time, the situation, the current thinking at the time. This is essential in my view, to understanding how the events described could have happened.2. Personal connection - we need to understand who the victims were, and those responsible for the event and the attempted rescus of victims 3. Detail on what caused the disaster - there is never just one cause. We need to understand the sequence of events, what was learned and how to prevent a recurrenceThis book does all these things well. The story is told through the eyes of several of the main protagonists. If anything, this detail is overdone and the book takes a long time to get to the main event. However that is nit-picking really - the events are built up in great detail and it is a complex story. Ultimately the pull and hold that Union Carbide had on its employees and the whole regaion is concerning - the authors explain very well how poor the region was and how UC was originally seen as a savior - at least until they began poisoning the water around Bopal.Ultimately it is a sad, depressing and familiar story. Major industry more concerned with efficiencies than safety despite protestations to the contrary, and those that suffer are the poorest in the world. We see it time and again. I would have like to here more about Bopal today, although this was touched upon also.A dreadful accident, made human in this book.

No doubt, a detached but disturbing description of world's deadliest industrial disaster. Dominique and Javier have managed to handle the amalgamation of social and technical aspects in a splendid manner. The book is a comprehensive research on MIC, Union Carbide, industrial policies in third world,political ambitions. Union carbide(UC)was expected to save Indian crops from being damaged by insects and pests. It had appeared as a ray of hope for million of families. Nadar family of Orissa was no exception. Safety, awareness, training all went well in the initial stage. However, a year of bad crop, the focus shifted to cost cutting- a term widely used in corporate world. Cost cutting resulted in carelessness. At the end of the day Bhopal had to encounter the horrible tragedy created by MIC, phosgene, hydro cyanide acid.The way the firm focused on cust saving risking lives of millions is disturbing. More disturbing is the fact that MP government, Indian government and Union Carbide didn't consider the lives of poor Indians valuable. People of Orya bustee and other places are seen as voters who can elect their their so called representatives. And once, election is over they are no more human beings. They are destined to face all problems on their own. The book also throws light on corporate culture. Slogans like "Safety first" takes a back stage when corporates run after profit. And corporates by their very basic nature have to run after profit. The book will keep the reader glued to it. It will provide a good idea on lives of poor people in India, the thought process of corporate and political classes and the disastrous effect of ill-handled chemicals. Happy reading.
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Reviews
Kritika Swarup
I have been postponing to write this review for over a month.. actually 2 months. That's because I am from Bhopal. What it talks about has lived in the 10km radius of my home, not too long back. The truth is, this industrial calamity is still alive with some residents of my city. December 3rd is the dark day for Bhopal. One fine day I decided to read the entire literature available on this case. This book was the last piece in winding up my study. With every page, I could feel the incident. I am too close to it to be able to overlook how Dominique successfully detached himself from the story, tried not to take sides and eventually succeeded in putting forth a matter-of-fact presentation of his research into this book. Earlier books and papers I had read were skewed in favour of the writing party's judgement. I was so emotionally charged by them that I didn't feel like talking to people around me, for days. This book as a contrast, presented the maximum closure possible. Here is what I would thank Dominique for:1. Presenting the incidence in a novel2. Researching small bits of the story to make me live it, without thinking of the next moment.3. Presenting just the right dose of judgement and trying level best, not to skew it.4. Living the disaster, as you researched for itGuess I don't have the calmness to go beyond this. I don't want to drone you into my emotions. Just know that it is true to the core and if you can feel even a fraction of the feelings it witnessed, I thank Dominique for that.
Luciana Vichino
A história é impressionante. O formato documentário no início do livro que traz informações mais técnicas é um pouco cansativo, mas vale a pena continuar a leitura e entender os eventos associados ao acidente químico que matou milhares de pessoas e deixou sequelas graves em outros milhares de sobreviventes.É revoltante ver o comportamento baixo e mesquinho de políticos, empresas e membros da comunidade, que se preocupam mais em fazer dinheiro do que com as pessoas e ganham sua vida e seu sucesso em cima miséria alheia. Ao mesmo tempo é emocionante ver diversos exemplos de amor e solidariedade, em muitos casos de pessoas que arriscam suas próprias vidas e dividem o pouco que tem em benefício dos demais.Um livro que faz pensar sobre o que podemos fazer para tornar o mundo melhor e a nossa responsabilidade e influência sobre as pequenas ações que podem fazer o nosso entorno mais feliz, harmonioso e melhor para todos.
Monica Bittencourt
O livro é muito bem escrito. Vai alternando os capítulos entre a parte mais técnica e da fábrica (os porquês das coisas terem sido feitas como foram) e as histórias das pessoas que foram afetadas pela contaminação. Para quem conhece a Índia, essa parte é um retrato fiel e um retorno ao que se viu lá.Com isso, mostra o lado humano da tragédia. É revoltante ver o capitalismo selvagem em toda a sua "pureza"; o pouco caso com as pessoas, risco x dinheiro e lucro, a exploração das pessoas como se estivessem fazendo um favor, políticos que fazem vista grossa de acordo com os outros interesses que muitas vezes, são individuais e não das pessoas que deveriam estar cuidando e, finalmente, a visão americana de Terceiro Mundo. E, pior de tudo, todos impunes até hj e a população ainda sofrendo as seqüelas.
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