To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms Hardcover – August 16, 2006
|New from||Used from|
The Book of R: A First Course in Programming and Statistics
Check out this title for a comprehensive, beginner-friendly guide to R, the world's most popular programming language for statistical analysis.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The narrative is riveting without insulting the intelligence of the reader.
The tragedy of Katrina began many years earlier, and this book helps place events in context. Fully a third of the book recounts history prior to the first raindrops hitting Louisiana.
The book steers a nice balance. It is deep enough to illuminate the political, economic and engineering factors that created the mess, but not so dry as to make it stuffy. It really presents a compelling case study in public policy and illustrates how important geography is to understanding our future.
It is clear that the authors' familiarity with the subject going back several years helped with the background portion of the book. These guys really know this stuff.
This should be a model for a popular account of a major event.
I know that some people may be unhappy that the book skirts over material supporting the second half of the title ("Coming Age of Superstorms") and others may object to any discussion of that topic, but I think that the authors do a good job placing their argument within the framework of mainstream thinking about climate change.
My only complaint is that I wish that there were more maps.
I grew up in New Orleans, and visit family there often, so I thought I understood the growing threat from hurricanes, yet McQuaid and Schleifstein filled in the gaps, and corrected common misconceptions; it is impressively well researched. (The horrendous tale of the response to the great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 alone is worth the price of admission.)
This is what I would call a "crossover book": Even if you're sick of hearing about Katrina-this and New Orleans-that, this book is interesting and readable enough to earn space on your "classic studies of human behavior" bookshelf.
In the first half - which in my opinion makes this book essential reading for ordinary citizens and officials alike - the authors trace the root causes to geological and topographical causes, made worse by human factors, economic, political and bureaucratic. The authors succeed in showing these causes become intertwined, going as far back to the formation of the Mississippi Delta millennia ago and coming to a head in the 20th century with the development of modern New Orleans.
The second half of the book gives a blow-by-blow account of Katrina's landfall and its aftermath, seen through the eyes a handful of disparate residents struggling to survive, and through those who (mis)managed the disaster, as well. The authors bring to life the victims of the storm, emphasizing their suffering and perseverance.
The authors portray whatever successes the disaster relief had in saving lives and easing suffering as being a patchwork of ad-hoc efforts by low- to mid-level officials who threw out the book. Those in officialdom who made interpreting the book their biggest priority - Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the heads of Homeland Security, FEMA and the military - are described in less-than-heroic terms (though "Brownie" appears less the incompetent political hack than he's generally portrayed as being by the media, though I suspect the authors merely took the head of FEMA at his word, in interviews and his self-serving congressional testimony).
Those more concerned about saving their own political skin than in saving people's lives - the Bush administration - are justly cast as outright boobs.Read more ›
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Louisiana coast. In Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms, McQuaid and Schleifstein revisit familiar territory, helping readers understand why this tragic event happened when there were so many warnings.
Path of Destruction outlines the factors that contributed to the tragedy in New Orleans. By 2005, many levees were still incomplete and those built had inadequate safety levels, with safety factors of 1.3 (bridges have a safety factor of 2). The Army Corps of Engineers were more interested in commerce than hurricane safety. When combined with sinking marshlands and unstable soil, these facts increased the likelihood that levees would be overtopped or broken by a Category 2 hurricane, turning much of New Orleans into a lake. Hurricanes sweeping in off the Gulf of Mexico no longer have extensive marshlands to diminish the storm's strength for "the delta has collapsed like a souffle."
McQuaid and Schleifstein also provide extensive evaluation of Katrina's aftermath. Once the levees broke, 80% of New Orleans was under water and the delayed response by FEMA severely increased the misery caused by Katrina.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Want a sign of the coming Apocalypse?
The two Pulitzer Price-winning journalists of the New Orleans Times-Picayune -- in a PATH OF DESTRUCTION -- a riveting read more... Read more
Path of Destruction tells the story of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on New Orleans quite well. Even better, it gives us the "back story" on the history of hurricanes along the... Read morePublished on February 9, 2010 by Glenn Gallagher
The book did a good job portraying the devastation of Katrina on the city of New Orleans, but it appears the authors didn't think we survivors from the MS gulf coast rated enough... Read morePublished on February 7, 2010 by lobo65
I am a Katrina survivor and, of course, am interested in all things written about this storm and its aftermath. Read morePublished on January 3, 2007 by C. shank