As technology takes machines to the edge of what their operators can understand and safely run, disasters are becoming more spectacular and deadly. Each day, more of us are caught up in the gears of increasingly complicated machinery that is pushed too hard, too quickly, with unpredictable results.
How do machines fail and accidents happen? James Chiles provides stunning accounts of what went wrong - and what could have been prevented - in accidents all over the world, from the spectacular - the capsizing of the "Ocean Ranger" offshore drill rig, the PEPCON factory explosion in Nevada, and the Challenger tragedy - to the technological breakdowns or "system failures" in business, to the smaller but no less crucial failures of machines in our homes.
Chiles take the reader into the shadowy world of near-disasters, and tells the stories of people who have leaned how to live with machines on the edge.