Nearly thirty years ago, Allen Coggins got a request from the director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. He was told to compile a list of disasters that have affected the state since its creation. What neither Coggins nor the director knew was that the simple request would become a 27-year odyssey through dusty newspaper archives, libraries and eyewitness reports. The result is Coggins' book Tennessee Tragedies: Natural, Technological and Societal Disasters in the Volunteer State. On November 28, 2012 Allen Coggins spoke with WUOT's All Things Considered host Brandon Hollingsworth about Tennessee's disaster history and how the state addresses emergenices in the present age.