Litercurious Book Review

TitleCatastrophes & Heroes
AuthorJerry Borrowman
PublisherShadow Mountain (May 5, 2020)
FormatAudiobook, Hardcover
ISBN # 10/131629727393 / 978-1629727394


Learn about Jerry Borrowman, his books, speaking engagements and his life here.


This book is best suited for people who enjoy historic architecture and engineering. Anyone who likes suspense, death defying incidents and tragedy will find this book enjoyable.  


Catastrophes & Heroes is a chronological record of eight historic disasters and ends with the authors “Final Thoughts.” Each story is broken down for the reader into subsections such as: The Human Cost of Tragedy, an Overview, Fateful Choices, Victims and First Responder Heroes, and Professional Heroes.

This is a pre-release and therefore had no pictures or diagrams but the author will include period images in the final release. That being said, this copy had a notation in the proper location for each image that will eventually be included. I appreciated this concept as I could easily look online at images that would bring into focus the events described.

The subjects vary from Civil War paddle boat disasters, to train wrecks, to bridge collapses, to hurricanes and to damn failures. Each disaster tells the stories of individuals that were killed, maimed, who survived, the rescuers, the villains and the ramifications. Whether the cause of the disaster was an Act of God, greed, ignorance, or malice Jerry brings the stories to life before your eyes.

Although the stories are intriguing in their own right, I think the after effects are the most interesting. Because of these disasters, we of today are safer. Procedures have been scrutinized, and corrections emplaced to prevent these types of disasters from happening again.


Catastrophes & Heroes is an extensively researched look into a few of the world’s greatest historic disasters. The first-person monologues add to the stories and lets the reader feel as if they are really there viewing the incident in real time. Some personal stories are tragic, some are exhilarating, many are depressing, and while others are joyful.

Even though the book is superbly authored and researched, I found some of the stories more obscure. I would have liked reading about some more widely known disasters and their stories. I did learn a lot about the incidents recorded in this book and definitely found the Civil War paddle boat disaster the most interesting.

The authors “Final Thoughts” are just a rehash of what was previously covered. That section could have easily been left out of the book entirely. On balance, this book is an informative and enjoyable read, but not rememberable.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


I would like to thank Jerry Borrowman, NetGalley, and Shadow Mountain for affording me the opportunity to review Catastrophes & Heroes.

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