For those of you who share my interest in the history of disasters and emergency management in the U.S., I recommend this new journal article: US Presidents and Their Role in Emergency Management and Disaster Policy, 1950-2009, by Naim Kapucu, et al.
This 34 page article is available as a free download, once you login.
NOTE: As you will see from the comment made today by Bill Cumming, the authors did not get all of their dates and facts correct. Generally I defer to Bill on such matters.
Also, I am working on a second edition of the text Emergency Management; the American Experience, 1900-2010, due out in 2012. That book will contain carefully fact-checked details on the history of emergency management for the past 110 years.
I noted to one of the authors the dates for Nixon are incorrect. Other errors also but a contribution. If they had [the authors) reviewed some of the historical documentation on my VACATION LANE BLOG [http://www/vlg338.blogspot.com] and utilized them it would have been a better article. IN particular the Congressional reports based on the preparedness survey issued in 1976 a seminal document in EM history. Why? The last time Congress by survey instrument attempted to decipher EM and preparedness in the USA. Unfortunately I don’t have time to review many articles and books but am involved in a post-9/11 analysis in a book sponsered by the Institute of Naval Proceedings about White House activities and DHS activities post 9/11. Due out late next spring. It demonstrates that many who were involved either had no or wrong backgrounds for their policy choices and inputs and many hated FEMA as a Clinton era success. I also handed a hard copy of the document to one of the authors last Monday evening while helping teach a class at GWU. Intro to EM for grad students.
Lead author for forthcoming book-John Morton.