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The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous: Fighting to Save a Way of Life in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina Hardcover – September 2, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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More About the Author
He has gone on to an illustrious career: a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the Miami Herald; editor of two Pulitzer-Prize-winning projects for Page One of The Wall Street Journal where, over a 24-year period, he also roamed the globe covering the first Persian Gulf War, South Africa's transition to a multiracial democracy and many other stories. He has since worked as senior editor for Conde Nast Portfolio magazine and is now an editor-at-large for Bloomberg News, writing and editing longform narrative journalism for Bloomberg's projects and investigations team.
Wells is the author of four well-received novels of the Cajun bayous: Meely LaBauve (a 2000 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers book); Junior's Leg (2001); Logan's Storm (2002); and Crawfish Mountain (2007).
He has also penned two non-fiction books: Travels with Barley: a Quest for the Perfect Beer Joint (2004), a travelogue through America's $75 billion beer industry; and The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous, a story of blue-collar heroism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The Pirates, published in September 2008 by Yale University Press, was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize and won the Harry Chapin book award in September 2009.
His fifth novel, Rascal, a Dog and His Boy, will be published by Knopf-Random House Young Adult in September 2010. He is currently working on a memoir.
Wells lives in New York City, where he continues on his quest to find the Perfect Beer Joint and dabbles in his hobbies that include photography and song-writing. He often wishes he were fishing.
Top Customer Reviews
St Bernard and Plaquemines are shrimping parishes, and Wells' story focuses on the Robin clan, a shrimping family that's lived and worked in the area for over 200 years. Ricky Robin, captain of a 70 ton trawler called the "Lil Rick"--a ship built by hand--sails up the Violet Canal hoping to weather out the hurricane. But surges whipped up by the 140+ mph winds get him in trouble almost at once. In one of the book's most harrowing passages, Ricky remembers seeing a 20 foot skiff blowing through the air and then skidding across the roiling waves like a thrown stone.
In the three days following the worst of the storm, Ricky gives shelter on the "Lil Rick" to hundreds of homeless survivors, sometimes hammering out dixieland tunes on his trumpet to keep up their spirits. Disasters can bring out the worst in frightened and desperate people. But it brought out the very best in Ricky Robin.
Although Robin is the star of the book, Wells also introduces us to others who weathered the story-- such as Ricky's cousin Ronald Robin. Ronald, a veteran hurricane survivor, also tried to weather the storm in Violet Canal. But like so many others, he was stunned by Katrina's ferocity and swiftness.Read more ›
I am a reader, presumably readers of these reviews share this avocation. My greatest joy is what I call being "stopped" while reading a book. By this I mean reading a line so beautiful or thoughtful that I am actually stopped. I am forced to put down the book and let the words pour over me. Again and again Mr. Wells' prose stopped me.
Good Pirates is the story of courageous men and women fighting not only Hurricane Katrina, but for a way of life and a piece of America that most of their fellow countrymen do not even know exists. Wells, born and bred very near these bayous, knows these folks and their land in his soul --- and it shows.
The courage of good pirates like Ricky Robin and the drama of their fight against Hurricane Katrina and what is called modern progress is inspiring. The site of the battleground, essentially the same land where the Battle of New Orleans was fought in 1812, is the swampy end of America where Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico occupy the same space. The land is described by Mr. Wells so beautifully that it is as breathtaking as the book's narrative of the struggle of man versus nature. The following excerpt is an example:
"Uplanders might find the greater landscape monotonous, the way a driver across Kansas might finally declare the endless canvas of golden wheat fields monochromatic. But bayou folk never tire of it., for they divine, in observations steeped in time, how these landscapes shift with the light and the tides and the seasons; how routinely they give up their wonders and their mysteries.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good book! Captivating! The accounts of those during the storm were amazing. The historical parts seemed to drag on a bit.Published 7 months ago by Donna Schultz
well written nice to see someone finally realize Katrina didn't only affect NOLAPublished 19 months ago by Kindle Customer
As a native of St. Bernard Parish, I greatly appreciated the way this story was told. It eloquently shares history, culture, as well as the personality of "Da' Parish". Read morePublished 20 months ago by JessC
This is an outstanding book about the forgotten bayous of St. Bernard Parish after the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by smileyfaces
I agree with the other reviewers in that the book is well researched, presented, and written. I grew up in the bayous of South Louisiana, enveloped by a warm community of... Read morePublished on November 24, 2012 by TheSWalks
Katrina coverage focused on New Orleans, but the bayous south of the city may have been hit even harder, and the ways of life of the bayous even more affected. Read morePublished on August 22, 2010 by Doctor Moss
I've read a good number books on the Katrina experience and all were very, very good. This, however, is as real as it gets, and a page-turner that tears at your heart. Read morePublished on November 5, 2009 by ElmoTheCat
I read this book after a recommendation in Southern Living magazine. Let me just say, it it heart-wrenching. It's funny. It's beautiful. Read more
The book was great. The Author did a good job.
The Service was great.