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Top Customer Reviews
Every American NEEDS to read this book. What we find in it is an America that lost its core. It is truly shocking that no matter how bad things were in New Orleans immediately following Katrina (most reporting was inaccurate and sensationalized), we are still Americans with common beliefs in our system of rights. That these rights were tossed out the window is appalling.
Mr. Zeitoun is a kind and gentle man. His signs are ubiquitous in New Orleans and he is a stranger to no one and well liked by all who have met him. That he could be mistreated is a crime and an outrage. That others were rounded up and treated even worse is one of the worst black eyes on our country. As I read this book I just kept saying out loud over and over again, "This cannot be America."
The writing style is perfect. It is not over the top with descriptions, but still makes you feel as if you are there, canoeing along in the streets of New Orleans. The subject matter is interesting, not just in a "can't stop watching this train wreck" sort of way, but because it ties together Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, two of the largest national events of the last decade. I never thought or knew about much beyond what I saw on TV regarding Katrina. This book thoroughly explores one story of one family, but manages tell it from a perspective that everyone can understand.
Much like the book Three Cups of Tea brought attention to the plight of women in Pakistan, I hope that Zeitoun will bring to light the problems and issues that still need attention in the US and in New Orleans.
Eggers took the main event, Katrina, and by telling the Zietouns' story, made it of human scale.
I'm rambling--all I can say is, I think this book is worth a read for everyone. It isn't preachy-it is interesting. I learned a lot about many different subjects. I hope it ends up on the best seller list and stays there for a long time. Unlike some books that end up on the best seller lists, this one really deserves to be there.
I've read several novels in which writers as diverse as Andres Dubus II, Claire Messud, and, most recently, Lorrie Moore, attempt to incorporate the events of September 11, 2001. None of these writers is, to my mind, particularly convincing with this material. (Don DeLillo, in "Falling Man," comes closest, I think.) Eggers, on the other hand, a master of narrative nonfiction, simply (artfully) gets out of the way of his material, letting it speak for itself. And his depiction of the weeks after the storm, a period when Zeitoun's wife, Kathy, at first does not know whether he is dead or alive and then struggles with callous officials to free her unjustly detained husband, is powerful indeed. So too is the narrative thread that traces Zeitoun's family history. Most painful and revolting, however, are the scenes in the jail-cages of "Camp Greyhound," the temporary prison constructed outside the New Orleans bus station. As with the photos of Abu Ghraib, the emotion a reading of "Zeitoun" is mostly likely to evoke is shame.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I never imagined such devastation in New Orleans . The atrocious behaviors of various troops sent to restore law and order. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Diana Silvera
I never knew about all the wrongful imprisonment during Hurricane Katrina. I'm horrified that our country could do that. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Double R
An excellent, if shocking, account of what happened to one family during and after Katrina.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great story! Very well written. Dave Eggers is a favorite of mine.Published 11 days ago by Amazonian
Very interesting and well written non-fiction story about one of the most horrific storms in our history.Published 13 days ago by Martinsony25
Thoughts I had while reading this book include: "Wow, I really like this author's writing,""aw, that's nice, what a great family," and then: "WHAT?! Read morePublished 14 days ago by Nancy A
The book was in even better condition than I expected. I purchased this to replace the copy I lost. The book is incredible.Published 14 days ago by Michelle Mac Farlane
Powerful account of Zeitoun's experience during and after the 'storm'. Couldn't put it down.Published 17 days ago by SUE A LAW