#BookReview: The End Of Trauma by George A Bonanno

Remarkable Examination of Trauma And Its Permanence. This is a truly eye opening book about the remarkable resilience of many, perhaps most, people – and how the science of trauma often gets the permanence of trauma wrong. Bonanno has spent his career researching these topics, and this is a solid look at his best findings to date. Told using some long-term case studies as a bit of a narrative structure (and certainly a recurrent theme), this book does a great job of showing how intensely personal trauma and resilience are, yet also using facts and studies to back up the case studies and show larger findings and trends. The bibliography here comes in at about 23% of the total text, which is within normal range – and would likely have been a bit more, without the focus on the case studies. Of note, the case studies are from an accidental spine injury – from a traffic accident – and from survivors of the 9/11 attacks, which helps to show the wide range of trauma. Though also of note, sexual traumas are not examined directly. While Bonanno makes the case for general applicability to all traumas for his findings of resilience and the factors that lead to it, one wonders whether more directly studying various types of traumas using Bonanno’s framework would truly show true general applicability? Still, that question would be an intriguing premise for a follow up book – but this book itself does in fact make a strong case for its premise and adds quite a bit to the overall discussion of trauma, PTSD, and resilience. Very much recommended.

This review of The End of Trauma by George A Bonanno was originally written on July 12, 2021.

#BookReview: Unnatural Disasters by Gonzalo Lizarralde

Excellent Within Scope, Ignores Alternative Explanations. This one was a bit weird. About halfway into the narrative, I was thinking this was going to be a three star at best, because it was *so* hyper “woke” / “progressive”. But then I read the description – I had picked up the ARC on the strength of the title alone – and saw that most all of the problems I had with the book were *exactly what the description said the book would have*. Well, crap. Ok, *within that scope*, this book is a true 5* narrative. Maybe a touch light on the bibliography at just 17% or so of the overall length of the book (more normal range is 20-30% in my experience), but not too terrible there. But ultimately I had to ding a star because it *does* lean too much into the author’s own biases and refuses to consider – and at times even outright dismisses – alternative explanations such as risky geography and geology, among others, in many of the disasters it covers. Still, the book has a lot of solid points about the modern “green” / “sustainable” / “resilient” building movements, if solidly from the “woke” / “progressive” side. Enough that even if you are one that normally can’t stomach such tripe (I myself am largely among this camp), this text really does have enough good material that you need to wade through it to see the arguments from even that perspective. Recommended.

This review of Unnatural Disasters by Gonzalo Lizarralde was originally written on July 3, 2021.