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Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City Paperback – July 15, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
As I am originally from New Orleans and have loved the city all my life, I was searching for the truth as well. As a full-time shelter volunteer in Mississippi, I realized--real quick--that we weren't getting accurate and unsensationalized reports on the news, save Anderson Cooper. I grew more and more frustrated with cable news, knowing that most reports bore no comparison to what I was hearing from the actual evacuees. Such shenanigans as repeated footage of one poor looted Walgreens over and over again didn't help matters any--not for the evacuees, who looked like criminals, (one thinks of the poor proud woman holding the Huggies up to her face in shame) not for the people who needed help, and certainly not for race relations in America. Anoterh case in point: Gerlado on Fox News holding up a baby on I-10. I would have much rather seen footage of Geraldo looting a Wallgreens in an effort to get some baby formula, but otherwise this parade of news was sadly misreprentative of the actual event and really didn't help anything but the advertisers.
Which is one reason I had such enormous and overwhelming affection for the folks at the Times-Picayune, the vernerable and ancient daily paper of New Orleans. They never, ever missed an issue--not one day, even as the lower floors were flooded. As my specialty in the shelter was helping evacuees with the internet, I repeatedly turned to the Times-Picayune website.Read more ›
The author lived through the hurricane and his writing has an edge of anger at the incompetence throughout the disaster pre-planning and the disaster response. Unlike the much longer (716 pages) "The Great Deluge" by Douglas Brinkley, "Breach of Faith has a narrower focus on New Orleans itself (432 pages). No public figure is spared (the president, the governor, the mayor among others) and Fema is single out above all other governmental for ineptness. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard did an outstanding job preparing for the hurricane and rescuing the residents afterwards. With a "you are there" writing style and countless stories to tell, Mr. Horne does a superb job of telling the story of how a great city nearly died.
What I can add to his story is this: some of the reason why many did not leave New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina that nobody has mentioned so far. Within a year and a half prior to the Katrina, New Orleans citizens had been asked to evacuate the city no less than (approximately) three times because of other storms that had appeared to be heading to the city, but at the last minute had taken a different track. To evacuate this often is an expensive and difficult thing to do for folks living paycheck to paycheck with limited income. Hurricane Katrina was just one of the many "storms of the century" that appeared to be making a beeline for New Orleans. Other storms, including Hurricane Ivan, had turned at the last moment. Several years of this, including one storm just some years ago which had the same potential as Katrina, but as it made landfall dropped from a category 3 to a category 1 (or 2, I can't remember which)-can cause many folks to begin to ignore the message. Many folks were under the impression this was just another over-calculation by the authorities. After all, they had dodged the bullet many many times in the last thirty-odd years.
After Hurricane Katrina moved out of Louisiana and the winds begin to drop and with the power out, a friend and I ventured forth to find a store or drive thru open to get something to eat.Read more ›
What makes Horne's book so memorable is the detail. His descriptions of floating bodies beset by water moccasins or the harrowing scene at the Convention Center or the recovery efforts for weeks and months after the storm are simply horrifying. Much of what Horne describes - from the lethal incompetence and sclerotic bureaucracy of FEMA to unrivaled heroism of many heretofore unknown private citizens - rekindles alternating currents of anger and pride in the reader.
To be sure, the canvass on which Horne paints is broad, and the cast of characters for a fairly compact book is long, indeed. Obviously, there are the notable figures of Mayor Ray Nagin, Governor Kathleen Blanco and FEMA Director Michael Brown, but there is also a battery of Lower Ninth Ward residents, Uptown residents and French Quarter residents, firefighters, community activists, doctors, nurses, engineers, former public officials, politicians and others. There are also a number of smaller figures whose stories round out the coverage masterfully. One such figure is a lawyer from Massachusetts who, along with his wife, had been dropping his teenage son off to begin college at Loyola when Katrina struck. Horne's treatment of that lawyer's terrible experience, as well as the incorporation of a pseudo-diary that the lawyer kept throughout the storm and its aftermath, make for electrifying reading.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is quite a revealing book. For those who adore politicians and the business elite, I hope a lesson is learned. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Becky
I was hoping Mr. Horne would delve into some of the curiosities surrounding Hurricane Katrina.
Re: The industrial Canal
The bathtub ring on the Industrial... Read more
My interest in this book was because I lived through the heartbreak of Katrina. I wanted to understand why it happened and why the response to the flooding was so slow and in many... Read morePublished on July 3, 2014 by Patricia F. Mckenzie
The story is fascinating. Mr. Horne provides details on the boondoggle that was Katrina, the aftermath and the recovery. Read morePublished on June 30, 2014 by leswill
This book tells the story of Katrina from the point of view of; the residents, the science, the politics, to some degree the economics, and of course, the author. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by Jerry B Schutz
Poorly written and not at all objective. I suppose this is what should be expected from this type of book. The stories seem passionate.Published on April 11, 2013 by C. Arington