Customer Reviews for

The Great Deluge

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

unbelievably powerful

I am a graduate of Tulane University and have had the unique privelege of having both lived in New Orleans for the last 5 "pre-Katrina" years of the city and also taken a class with Professor Brinkley. I was an official citizen of New Orleans until roughly 2 weeks befor...
I am a graduate of Tulane University and have had the unique privelege of having both lived in New Orleans for the last 5 "pre-Katrina" years of the city and also taken a class with Professor Brinkley. I was an official citizen of New Orleans until roughly 2 weeks before the hurricane struck, when I moved back to Texas after graduation, and to describe the feelings and emotions of watching such a horrific events unfold in the city you still call 'home' is almost impossible. The best I can do is to have you imagine that internal squeezing sensation you get whenever your heart gets broken, combined with the breathless feeling you get when you remember past regrets or disappointments, with a healthy dose of the stomach churning sensation that comes from witnessing horrific events (like the way you feel when you see an accident, or war on the news, or when you saw the twin towers fall). All of that combined is what it feels like to watch not just your home, but your neighbors homes, the supermarket where you bought groceries, the street corner you always passed on your jogs, an entire way of life... all get simply washed away and destroyed while the people with the power to help those in need looked and acted like they just didn't give a single damn about it.

Professor Brinkley perfectly captures all of this and surrounds it with the most meticulously well-researched history of the buildup and aftermath of Katrina. There are many fantastic and moving books that have come out in the wake of Katrina (Chris Rose' '1 Dead In Attic' in particular), but this is by far the most comprehensive as it not only covers the history of the disaster and the federal response, but keeps the narrative with the people forced to endure while the world watched. This book will, and I do not exaggerate on this at all, make you angry, make you cry, and give you hope all at the same time. Because of years of neglect and lethal indifference from those in power, we almost lost our most unique city. Luckily, there is a spirit in New Orleans that is part of what makes the city so special, and despite everything, the city works every day to pull itself back up. This book should be required classroom reading for decades to come.

Never forget.

Re-Cover, Re-Build, Re-New Orleans

posted by exploitedpunk on February 26, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Point of view from a displaced evacuee in Amarillo, TX

This book is indeed an eye-opener. I'd already read several non-fiction novels about natural disasters prior to Hurricane Katrina. The best one was 'Rising Tide' about the flood of 1927 across the Mississippi Delta. As a Louisiana native, I'd read about Hurricane...
This book is indeed an eye-opener. I'd already read several non-fiction novels about natural disasters prior to Hurricane Katrina. The best one was 'Rising Tide' about the flood of 1927 across the Mississippi Delta. As a Louisiana native, I'd read about Hurricanes Audrey, Camille, and Betsy. I'd been through two of those personally & survived the horrors of Hurricane Andrew. Despite that, I felt it necessary to keep myself on the edge & not become lazy in my storm prep efforts like so many others. We evacuated the day before the storm & got hit by it in Mississippi as a Cat 1 hurricane. We lost TV for about a day & a half. I needed to be filled in on what happened during that time period and Doug Brinkley delivered the info. There are so many things that are impressive about this book, so many stories that are told about survivors & the situations they endured. The problem I had with the author is that he is too preachy. His points are valid & on target -- however, redundancy is not a good thing in a work of non-fiction. The comparison for me has to be 'Rising Tide'. The author of that book gives the facts & reasons for the flood gives an accounting of the governmental faults that helped to make everything worse and leaves it to the reader to provide any external bias. He also gives a lot of nuance about the history of New Orleans & why it became the way it is. Very good book. In contrast, 'The Great Deluge' brings the nuance the pain the humility the suffering the tragedy in a way that makes you feel like you are there while you read it. Again, his bias is the only bad point. Not only did he drive his point home, he knocked down the foundation on which the house actually sat. By page 580, I'd had enough of the preaching & couldn't take any more. Like a good survivor, I read it through to the end. I must recommend this book because the truth about these horrific events should be told. Just be ready to be hit over the head with the injustices of the Bush administration, Homeland Security & that Nagin guy, over & over, & over, & over again. In some ways it is justifiable -- the people who suffered through this probably felt a lot worse than you will while you are reading this. They too needed someone to blame for their misery -- that's natural. The people who allowed this tragedy to persist should be held accountable -- that hasn't happened yet. It may still happen if you read this and it helps you make decisions about who should be running the country -- then it was worth it all.

posted by Anonymous on June 2, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    Suffering Continues

    If you suffered through Katrina and her aftermath, you'll suffer anew when you read this book. It is a thoroughly bad piece of writing so full of factual errors and editorializing that one hesitates to call it history-or scholarship. To those of us who know New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and the actual people named (sometimes incorrectly) in this book, this is one more insult tossed our way, to be added to the harm done in the wake of this tragedy. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast deserve better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    A biased, political attack disguised as 'reporting'

    Page after page (I received an advance copy) is Brinkley's own personal take on post-Katrina New Orleans. Where he was, what he saw, and who he didn't see. It's the last item, who Brinkley didn't see, that seems to have troubled him the most. Brinkley fashions what could have been a concrete, timely, well-reasoned overview of the 8 days after Katrina into a political diatribe against the failures of Ray Nagin as mayor of New Orleans. Brinkley widens his scope to Baton Rouge only to inlcude comments that are negative about Nagin from Governor Blanco and selected elected officials. Wait for a 'Katrina-aftermath' book with more focus and a book written by an author without a political ax to grind. Skip this one. At least wait for the New Orleans election to conclude before considering buying this 700-page attack.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    Errors are glaring and easliy verified.

    If you choose to read this book, do so with a jaundiced eye. The errors that I found, and verified with the people that were involved, are just egregious. Knowing the errors, makes me doubt that other "facts" are incorrect as well. I must question the veracity of the things I am not able to verify. How can the only untruths be the ones I was able to spot outright? I am not referring to the overwhelming political bias of the author, which is so blatant that it is hard to wade through, but facts about the Aquarium and physical locations of events that are not possible. Professor, if this is what passes as a "scholarly" tome, our universities are in deep trouble. Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Better yet, borrow it from the library and don't pay for this one.

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