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The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Paperback – Bargain Price, July 31, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley, a professor at Tulane University, lived through the destruction of Hurricane Katrina with his fellow New Orleans residents, and now in The Great Deluge he has written one of the first complete accounts of that harrowing week, which sorts out the bewildering events of the storm and its aftermath, telling the stories of unsung heroes and incompetent officials alike. Get a sample of his story--and clarify your own memories--by looking through the detailed timeline he has put together of the preparation, the hurricane, and the response to one of the worst disasters in American history.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Historian Brinkley (Tour of Duty, etc.) opens his detailed examination of the awful events that took place on the Gulf Coast late last summer by describing how a New Orleans animal shelter began evacuating its charges at the first notice of the impending storm. The Louisiana SPCA, Brinkley none too coyly points out, was better prepared for Katrina than the city of New Orleans. It's groups like the SPCA, as well as compassionate citizens who used their own resources to help others, whom Brinkley hails as heroes in his heavy, powerful account"and, unsurprisingly, authorities like Mayor Ray Nagin, Gov. Kathleen Blanco and former FEMA director Michael C. Brown whom he lambastes most fiercely. The book covers August 27 through September 3, 2005, and uses multiple narrative threads, an effect that is disorienting but appropriate for a book chronicling the helter-skelter environment of much of New Orleans once the storm had passed, the levees had been breached, and the city was awash in "toxic gumbo." Naturally outraged at the damage wrought by the storm and worsened by the ill-prepared authorities, Brinkley, a New Orleans resident, is generally levelheaded, even when reporting on Brown's shallow e-mails to friends while "the trapped were dying" or recounting heretofore unreported atrocities, such as looters defecating on property as a mark of empowerment. Photos. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061148490
  • ASIN: B0017OFWBA
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"The Great Deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast" certainly pulls no punches in its across the board criticism of all concerned parties. While most at the time turned this into a societal battle of rich vs. poor, white vs. black, Author Douglas Brinkley has more than enough ammunition to aim at President Bush, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, Michael Brown, the former FEMA director, Mayor Ray Nagin, and Governor Blanco. In fact a war of words has erupted between Brinkley and Nagin in light of some of the comments Brinkley makes about Nagin.

Some of Brinkleys accounts needlessly border on the melodramatic. There was no extra drama that needed to be added to the actual and factual accounts of what happened to New Orleans. The human tragedy speaks for itself. Readers will experience many layers of feelings as they read the book. You'll shed tears over the loss of life, be angered by the poor response from all factions, and rejoice in the triumph of spirit in how the people endured, and how hard rescuers worked.

Brinkley successfully avoids falling into politicizing this disaster and no one who reads the book thoughtfully can accuse him of having an agenda other than wanting to tell the true story. Thankfully he is smart enough to let so many of those directly involved...the survivors...and the rescuers...tell their own stories. The various running narratives, and 700 plus pages can make it a bit of a chore at times to follow but this is a story that needed to be told and told truthfully.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been filming a documentary regarding Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath entitled "New Orleans Story." We interviewed Mr. Brinkley when he was writing his very first chapter of The Great Deluge. Douglas was very engaged in the investagative process and was eager to learn all that we had discovered and were discovering during our one on one interviews with key players to this historical disaster. We also interviewed Douglas Brinkley a few days before he released his book to the public.

Having now read the book, I must verify through our own on-camera interviews with many of the same individucals (such as Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco, former Fema Director Michael Brown), that Douglas' reported accounts have merit. The information was taken directly from those who were in the best position to opine. Yes it is true that others have different perspectives, but we have yet to see any evidence that dispute the accruracy of the content of The Great Deluge.

As a fellow New Orleanian who also worked to chronical the events in as much of a contemporaneous manner as possible, I wish to congradulate Douglas Brinkley on his efforts. I further strongly recommend The Great Deluge.
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Format: Hardcover
Speaking as a first reponder who has witnessed many of these events personally, I must say that no other individual has shed more light on the true events following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as historian Douglas Brinkley.

Cutting through the governmental cover-ups, deception and lies, Brinkley gets to the heart of the matter in this refreshingly honest and straight forward account of what was really happening at the time. Brinkley allows the reader to share the human ordeals of the true heroes as he recounts the personal experiences of Coast Guard and Wildlife & Fisheries personnel, and citizen first responders. These are their stories as seen through their eyes and told in their own words.

Unafraid to hold accountable those still in power, The Great Deluge allows the reader to escape the masterful spin of FEMA and The Bush Administration as well as attempts to hide Ray Nagin's mental breakdown during the Cresent City's most crucial hours.

Thank-you, Mr. Brinkley. You have given your city, country, and state one of the greatest gifts they could receive, the truth.
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Format: Hardcover
Brinkley succeeds at honestly and objectively recounting what happened, what went right, and what went wrong during what will long be remembered as a moment when government at all levels failed us, but ordinary citizens rose to the occasion. Nobody who deserves criticism is spared, and that is how it should be.

The opening portion of the book describes how the Louisiana SPCA efficiently evacuated hundreds of animals well in advance of the storm. The subtle message? A small private organization made up mostly of volunteers had a coherent and effective evacuation plan, but the government did not.

More than just a recitation of what happened, Brinkley describes at length the history of New Orleans, particularly with respect to more than a century of attempting to protect the city from flooding. He also covers the gradual coastal erosion that made New Orleans much more vulnerable to catastrophic flooding. This helps the reader better understand why the city flooded when Katrina hit.

As the title notes, Brinkley also covers the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which was so often lost in media reports at the time, partly due to lack of access to those areas and also due to the large scale drama unfolding at the same time in New Orleans.

This is an important book. The details of this chapter in American history need to be accurately recorded for ourselves and for future generations. Brinkley has succeeded in doing just that.
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