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Showing 1-10 of 67 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 183 reviews
on June 8, 2016
The Great Deluge is an absolute tour de-force on one of the most shameful episodes in modern American history. I was reluctant to buy the book worried that (having been written by a history professor) it might not have the narrative flow to bring the various events and stories to life. I need not have worried, as Brinkley's writing style would do justice to Erik Larson and, on occasions, reminded me of Larson's own Isaac's Storm. This book should be required reading in our schools and in State and local government. It speaks to the power of Mother Nature, the incompetence of the administration in Washington DC (especially, Chertof at Homeland Security and Michael Brown at FEMA) and Mayor Nagin in New Orleans. It also tells the heroic stories of courage and survival by ordinary citizens, both from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast - and of those who came to the region to lend their help. Peter Smith
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on July 5, 2012
I'm a survivor of the hell of the Dome and I wrote "Left to Die-A first-hand account of life in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina." After seven years of nightmares, I'm finally able to read accounts of the events without becoming an emotional wreck. It was with enthusiasm that I read "The Great Deluge."

I was surprised to find for the most part an accurate rendering of the facts. It did gloss over some events but that is expected due to formatting restraints.

I liked the fact that it chronicled the whole Gulf Coast and not just New Orleans. The way the author explains each vignette is great for the reader unfamiliar with New Orleans, its politics or quirky ways. The main players were people I knew and Mr. Brinkley accurately portrays them.

You hardly ever hear about the people with a plan. And it is rarer if they use it. The coastal smaller parishes got it and prepared for the Big One. Likewise heroes are seldom acknowledged. Big or small the writer took time to point out some of these unsung champions.

The book is well written but does ramble at times. The author flip-flops back and forth on the timeline. The photos were good but were poorly placed. Still it is a book worth reading.

I agree with Bishop Paul Morton... Nagin is "A white man in black skin." His aspirations were to rise up the political ladder. When he told Bush we were all evacuated, he left us to die. I'm surprised he was never called to account for his lack of planning and action.

So for an accurate account of those horrible days up and down the Gulf Coast, this is the book for you.
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on March 25, 2015
This is an excellent book. I keep up with the news, so I knew damage wise Katrina was bad and all the TV footage was showing just how overwhelming it was. It's a miracle there were no epidemics of cholera or typhoid from people wading in that water and having to live and sleep in those polluted conditions. Not to mention the fever epidemics that accompany standing, putrid waters, high temperatures and breeding mosquitoes. The political shenanigans were totally ridiculous and unforgivable. FEMA needs to be torn apart and begun over from scratch. I never thought creating one master agency to oversee all the agencies was really smart. Each agency has it's own way of working and totally different objectives. Each needs to be responsible in it's own right for it's own specialty work. Instead they fight among each other for control and things get left undone until everything is out of hand. Why can't FEMA get it's act together on spot. If there is an F5 tornado with no warning everybody in the area gets together and gets started with rescue, food,water, supplies, and shelters. FEMA sneaks in on the coat tails of the local, state, regional, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Church Volunteers. They have not cleaned up their act yet. The job they performed in Superstorm Sandy wasn't any better. They can blame that on racism or poorly trained or unprofessional firemen and EMS. Nor could they dump on poor well meaning local and state officials who did their jobs. They coped when hit with the unexpected too. FEMA needs to clean up and get their act together. I am glad I read this book. There is a lot of food for thought in it. Who are we voting for? What is their true past record? Will they truly work in our best interests?
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on December 4, 2015
I am an avid reader of all books about Hurricane Katrina, and of the volumes I have read, The Great Deluge has been the best read. It really gives points of view of all parties involved, and even though the length initially worried me, I couldn't put it down. For those of us who lived near and through this storm and its effects, this book is the real story and puts to rest a lot of rumors that have circulated for the ten years since the event.
This was a catastrophic natural disaster of monumental proportions, and Douglas Brinkley brings all of the elements to the surface for you the reader to see and experience. It could well serve as a textbook for the study of this storm.
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on November 10, 2006
This is an impressive and even astounding book. Impressive are the book's comprehensive coverage, its first-hand reporting, and its capacity to present the big picture while vividly painting the little stories of heroism and heartbreak. The book is astounding in that the author was able to compose a work of such scope and depth in well less than a year. The level of research - based on an exhaustive mining of the local and national press accompanied by wide-ranging and incisive interviews (including Mayor Ray Nagin, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, FEMA's Michael Brown, and even Jimmy Buffett!) - is that of a book that would take a typical writer two or three years to write. By its nature, focusing on the immediate events - the hurricane and the subsequent flooding - this book will not be the last word on Katrina. The ripple effects - of dispersed populations, ruined infrastructure, reconstruction efforts, and political impacts - will continue for some time, and future historians will add to our understanding. But it is hard to imagine a better "you are there" account of the bravery, treachery, and sheer incompetence exhibited in the week following Katrina's coming ashore on the morning of Monday, August 29. Although balanced and comprehensive in his coverage of events, Brinkley is not afraid to name the names of heroes and scoundrels. Of the latter, those who stand out in infamy include the Army Corps of Engineers, Mayor Nagin, the New Orleans Police Department, and the obtuse federal triumvirate of Brown, Chertoff, and Bush. With more than enough official fecklessness to go around, greater disaster was staved off by the story's heroes: the U.S. Coast Guard, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries rescuers, the city of Houston (which took in tens of thousands of flood victims), legions of volunteers and medical personnel, and average people who responded, often at great personal risk, to their fellow citizens in need. There is plenty of evidence in this book to make one chagrined at the gross ineptitude of certain public officials and of institutions designed to respond to natural disasters. But there is also enough human empathy and fighting spirit displayed in these events to make one proud of the American people themselves. Brinkley's great achievement is to have provided a full and graphic portrait of both sides of the Katrina tragedy.
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on October 28, 2015
Brinkley makes Hurricane Katrina live as it ravaged Louisana, Mississippi and Alabama, with special attention to New Orleans that bore the brunt of the storm. A comedy of errors by the New Orleans mayor, FEMA, and the Bush administration is especially revealing. The plight of the poor who, at least ten thousand strong, were jammed in the Dome. It is a strong book that is well reasearced. For any community faced with a huge emergency, "The Great Deluge" is a primer on what NOT to do.
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on October 31, 2015
An incredible story of what went on during Katrina and what roles the players, including heroes and villains, citizens and government employees, and the victims themselves. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what REALLY went on during one of this countries most notorious tragedies and how the denizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas were treated by the storm...and the various entities that should have stepped up to this dsaster, but did not!
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on June 27, 2014
There was almost no ONE thing that made this far worse than it should have been. It was so sad to see the pathetic response & behavior from Nagin. I lived there prior to Katrina and it is simply unreal how such an incompetent (to put it mildly) city official could have ever been elected. Nagin has a long history of pathetic leadership and sadly he was mayor at a time they needed a great leader the most. I am hardly blaming him only but he was in 1st position to plan long before Katrina was even in the gulf. Sad. My family moved back, but I will only go to visit & not during Kurricane season, this was why I left. Thanks Brinkley - excellent research & reporting without political bias, just the facts.
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on May 12, 2015
It is difficult to imagine the depth of the ineptitude that surrounded the response to Katrina on the part of government-both local and nationally. The descriptions in this book paint a graphic and heart wrenching close up account of the suffering, the despair and the hopelessness the victims of this hurricane and subsequent flooding felt. I have read many books about this event, fiction and non-fiction. This is one of the most thorough accounts.
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on May 6, 2017
Douglas Brinkley has done it again! This book is a must for those who really want to know what happened that fateful August-September of 2005. I wouldn't be without it! He tells it like it is.
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