The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

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HarperCollins, May 9, 2006 - History - 716 pages
140 Reviews

In the span of five violent hours on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed major Gulf Coast cities and flattened 150 miles of coastline. Yet those wind-torn hours represented only the first stage of the relentless triple tragedy that Katrina brought to the entire Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to Mississippi to Alabama.

First came the hurricane, one of the three strongest ever to make landfall in the United States -- 150-mile-per-hour winds, with gusts measuring more than 180 miles per hour ripping buildings to pieces.

Second, the storm-surge flooding, which submerged a half million homes, creating the largest domestic refugee crisis since the Civil War. Eighty percent of New Orleans was under water, as debris and sewage coursed through the streets, and whole towns in south-eastern Louisiana ceased to exist.

And third, the human tragedy of government mis-management, which proved as cruel as the natural disaster itself. Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, implemented an evacuation plan that favored the rich and healthy. Kathleen Blanco, governor of Louisiana, dithered in the most important aspect of her job: providing leadership in a time of fear and confusion. Michael C. Brown, the FEMA director, seemed more concerned with his sartorial splendor than the specter of death and horror that was taking New Orleans into its grip.

In The Great Deluge, bestselling author Douglas Brinkley, a New Orleans resident and professor of history at Tulane University, rips the story of Katrina apart and relates what the Category 3 hurricane was like from every point of view. The book finds the true heroes -- such as Coast Guard officer Jimmy Duckworth and hurricane jock Tony Zumbado.

Throughout the book, Brinkley lets the Katrina survivors tell their own stories, masterly allowing them to record the nightmare that was Katrina. The Great Deluge investigates the failure of government at every level and breaks important new stories. Packed with interviews and original research, it traces the character flaws, inexperience, and ulterior motives that allowed the Katrina disaster to devastate the Gulf Coast.

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The history compels me, but the writing repels. - Goodreads
Well researched and detailed book! - Goodreads
Very comprehensive overview of the disaster - Goodreads
Well researched and interviewed. - Goodreads
And according to his research, rightfully so. - Goodreads

Review: The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

User Review  - Donna Burtwistle-Popplewell - Goodreads

This expose into the horrendous and cataclysmic event of Hurricane Katrina was riveting, terrifying, disgusting and inspirational. Douglas Brinkley has compiled impressive details that outline the ... Read full review

Review: The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

User Review  - Joanne - Goodreads

Although long, a must read. My only criticism would be a lack of maps. For those of us unfamiliar with the area, maps would have been very helpful to orient us. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him "America's new past master." His most recent books are The Quiet World, The Wilderness Warrior, and The Great Deluge. Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.

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