The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003
Fatal Isolation tells the stories of these victims and the catastrophe that took their lives. It explores the multiple narratives of disaster--the official story of the crisis and its aftermath, as presented by the media and the state; the life stories of the individual victims, which both illuminate and challenge the ways we typically perceive natural disasters; and the scientific understandings of disaster and its management. Fatal Isolation is both a social history of risk and vulnerability in the urban landscape and a story of how a city copes with emerging threats and sudden, dramatic change.
1 Stories, Suffering, and the State: The Heat Wave and Narratives of Disaster
2 Anecdotal Life: Isolation, Vulnerability, and Social Marginalization
3 Place Matters: Mortality, Space, and Urban Form
4 Vulnerability and the Political Imagination: Constructing Old Age in Postwar France
5 Counting the Dead: Risk and the Limits of Epidemiology
"Keller’s underscores the problems that arise when a society relies too heavily on metrics to manage the health of its aging population. As a historian of medicine, he is well equipped to guide us through a history of modern France’s public health infrastructure that dates back to the late eighteenth century. After reading Keller’s powerful indictment of the 'unnatural' causes of mass death during the Paris heat wave of 2003, we are left with the question of 'what now?' Due to global warming, extreme weather events are likely to become the norm in the twenty-first century. For Europe’s elderly, along with other vulnerable populations, such as immigrants and refugees, there is little time to waste for creating new kinds of housing to meet the environmental challenges of the twenty-first century."