Come Hell Or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster

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Basic Books, Jan 23, 2006 - Social Science - 258 pages
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When Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands were left behind to suffer the ravages of destruction, disease, and even death. The majority of these people were black; nearly all were poor. The Federal governmentŐs slow response to local appeals for help is by now notorious. Yet despite the cries of outrage that have mounted since the levees broke, we have failed to confront the disasterŐs true lesson: to be poor, or black, in todayŐs ownership society, is to be left behind. Displaying the intellectual rigor, political passion, and personal empathy that have won him acclaim and fans all across the color line, Michael Eric Dyson offers a searing assessment of the meaning of Hurricane Katrina. Combining interviews with survivors of the disaster with his deep knowledge of black migrations and government policy over decades, Dyson provides the historical context that has been sorely missing from public conversation. He explores the legacy of black suffering in America since slavery and ties its psychic scars to todayŐs crisis. And, finally, his critique of the way black people are framed in the national consciousness will shock and surprise even the most politically savvy reader. With this clarion call Dyson warns us that we can only find redemption as a society if we acknowledge that Katrina was more than an engineering or emergency response failure. From the TV newsroom to the Capitol Building to the backyard, we must change the way we relate to the black and the poor among us. WhatŐs at stake is no less than the future of democracy.

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User Review  - LaurenGommert - LibraryThing

This book was nothing more than a ridiculous attempt to place blame on anyone and everyone besides the people who should be blamed. Katrina was a horrific occurance but to blatantly state that the ... Read full review

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User Review  - jgeneric - LibraryThing

Who else wasn't glued to their television set, or the newspapers, or their internet, or whatever, last late August into early September? It's not everyday that we see a city destroyed by a combination ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including Holler if You Hear Me, Is Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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