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« Interventions, by Noam Chomsky | Main | Deer Hunting with Jesus, by Joe Bageant »


City Adrift, by Bergal, Hiles, et al

By an everyday book reader
July 1, 2007

It was a stunning example of complete civic breakdown, witnessed by the entire nation.

In less than 24 hours, levees engineered to block floodwaters ruptured, and more than 100 billion gallons surged into the streets of New Orleans. America watched in horror as every system that might have protected the city from Hurricane Katrina failed. More than 1,400 Louisianans died; hundreds of thousands more were displaced by the catastrophe, and now, more than a year later, we're still piecing together how this could have happened. And could it happen again?

City Adrift: New Orleans Before and After Katrina
by Jenni Bergal, Sara Shipley Hiles, Frank Koughan, John Mcquaid, Jim MorrisBook Picture

Hardcover: 168 pages
ISBN: 9780807132845, 0807132845
Louisiana State University Press
June 2007

To get answers, seven seasoned journalists commissioned by the Center for Public Integrity traveled to New Orleans to investigate the storm's aftermath, interviewing homeowners, first responders and politicians, evacuees and ordinary citizens to explore the storm from every angle, including health care, social services, housing and insurance, and emergency preparedness.

This comprehensive collection of expert voices uniquely details not only what went wrong in the Big Easy, but provides a road map to avoiding disaster in the future. "What sets this book apart from other reporting out of New Orleans is its comprehensiveness and authority," said the Center's Editorial Director Diane Fancher, who edited the project along with writer and project manager Jenni Bergal.

"If you aren't long since Katrinaed out, and if you have the stomach for it, LSU Press at Baton Rouge has what's likely to be the authoritative account of the great bungle." - Arkansas Times

"The rush of words about Hurricane Katrina has slowed somewhat, except in New Orleans and portions of the Mississippi coast. But what is happening -- and not happening -- to rebuild the devastated areas and prevent future devastation should not be considered stale news." --The Times-Picayune

"'Hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents were displaced by Katrina,' opens the remarkable new book City Adrift: New Orleans Before And After Katrina. 'More than 1,400 Louisianans died, more than half of them from New Orleans.' Several articles and books have been written about Katrina since the monster hurricane made landfall. City Adrift is among the best." --The Clarion-Ledger

"Anybody already familiar with the skilled investigative reporting emanating from the Center for Public Integrity during the past two decades will be unsurprised to hear that "City Adrift" reveals details ignored or forgotten since coverage began in August 2005." --The Denver Post

"This excellent exposť of corruption and incompetence, conducted under the auspices of the Center for Public Integrity (a nonpartisan organization that sponsors investigative journalism) should lead to calls for future accountability." --Publishers Weekly

"If there was any doubt that Hurricane Katrina was, in reality, a man-made catastrophe in New Orleans, this book dispels it, fact by indisputable fact ... This is an important book that exposes the depth and breadth of government dysfunction with ramifications far beyond the levees and bayous of southeastern Louisiana." --Bryan Norcross, CBS News hurricane analyst and author of "Hurricane Almanac 2006"

At the end of the day, this book is about more than just the mishandling of Katrina's aftermath. Its central message is the government's overall unpreparedness for natural or man-made crises, and how we all must learn from these mistakes before the next disaster.

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