Gilbert M. Gaul

Cindy Seip

Gilbert M. Gaul twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been short-listed for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and other newspapers. He is the author of three previous books of investigative reporting. His most recent book is The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America’s Coasts (Sarah Crichton Books). Consider this: Five of the most expensive hurricanes in history have made landfall since 2005. With more property than ever in harm’s way, and the planet and oceans warming dangerously, it won’t be long before we see a $250 billion hurricane. Why? Because Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains. And they have been encouraged to do so by what Gilbert M. Gaul reveals in The Geography of Risk to be a confounding array of federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, grants, and government flood insurance that shift the risk of life at the beach from private investors to public taxpayers, radically distorting common notions of risk. The Geography of Risk will forever change the way you think about the coasts, from the clash between economic interests and nature, to the heated politics of regulators and developers.