Medicine And Books

Accidents in History

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7103.319a (Published 02 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:319
  1. Leonard Evans
  1. principal research scientist, Safety Research Department, General Motors R & D Center, Warren MI, USA

    Ed Roger Cooter, Bill Luckin: Wellcome Trust, £16, pp 273 ISBN 90 420 0093 7

    Accidents in History is a compilation of 10 essays, many of them from a 1991 conference with the same title. The content is mainly philosophical, semantic, and rhetorical. The emphasis is on the process of thinking about the nature and definition of accidents, not structured information about past catastrophes. There are interesting facts, but they are spread through the book and generally embedded in all too many words. The essays are, on average, about 8000 words each.

    Several of the essays identify many difficulties and ambiguities that surround the word “accident.” None, however, points out that professionals in …

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