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Dock

Breach of Faith:

Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City by Jed Horne.

Spike Lee’s excellent documentary series ‘When the Levee’s Broke’ is one of the standout things I have watched in many a year and it propagated for me personally an interest in the whole gargantuan story of Hurricane Katrina. This book is by one of editors of New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper

“Get out”. Not quite the Gettysburg address, but a succinct summing up and repeated mantra over the week leading up to Katrina hitting the Louisiana area of the Gulf Coast from the New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin . What followed directly after the impact from the hurricane was beamed to all of us across the squillions of media channels that circle the planet. But Horne’s book isn’t just about the weather, it’s about the people of New Orleans,  City State and National politics, the history of the city, hope, despair, and the disgustingly Everest-sized scale of fuck ups by those in power and the grabbing hands of commercial enterprise that, even after such a massive disaster, were still scheming as to how much they could make on the back of the misery of the people of New Orleans.

Of course with a topic as multi-faceted as HK, the question is where to start. Horne starts in the week leading up to Katrina hitting by brilliantly building up the tension of a city on the brink of ‘The big one’. His explanation of the workings and movement of a hurricane and its obliterating trudge across Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi is detailed and made easy for the reader to grasp. The scale was huge, an area the size of Britain was hit by Katrina and the first surge of water hitting Eastern New Orleans flooded an area of hundreds of square miles within two hours, such was the force of the water. This coupled with winds of up to 155mph made sure that this wasn’t going to pass lightly.

Horne humanises the story from his interviews with some of the hurricanes survivors of various social backgrounds, dispels the media myths that were getting sensationalised by the mass media, and his knowledge of the greasy-palmed politics of the state of Louisiana and indeed the national government cannot be doubted. He explains in full where the fingers should be pointed with regard to why the levees failed, and also of the sorrow and tragedy of the cities inhabitants. This is an indictment on a country that in 2005 had started to lose its way with regard to spending on foreign wars and not on its own citizens under the Far-right presidential leadership of Brainless Junior.

I enjoyed this book as a ‘brief’ insight into Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, but I think it may have been rushed out in a competitive market place of post-Katrina books. The narrative is very jumbled and I think the book cant workout if it’s supposed to be a log of events, or biographical with regard to the stories of survivors. It’s a brave writer who tackles such a sprawling story as Hurricane Katrina (He must be brave with a roustabout name like Jed Horne. I bet he smokes Marlboro reds), but I think a lot more hindsight from passing years will give us the ultimate accounts of the huge changes that Katrina forced upon Americans. This is an interesting read and there is no doubting the enthusiasm and knowledge of the writer. Its good, but I am positive that in the future there will be a more perfect book about this perfect storm.

Late Doors

Even by your standards young fella mi lad that was an ace review and a fab read in it's own right. An area the size of Britain ??? Jeez
Grind

Imagine my surprise when I found out that this wasn't the story of a shite comedienne losing her doughnut.
Dock

Late Doors wrote:
Even by your standards young fella mi lad that was an ace review and a fab read in it's own right. An area the size of Britain ??? Jeez


Ta bud. If you think this level of compliment will get you some pints bought on Saturday tha's in for a shock.
Grind

That'll be a pint of shock, then.

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