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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  • Posted August 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended!

    The first half of the first chapter is dry...but its a necessary part of the book b/c it tells of the founding of N.O. more than 300 years ago. I am finishing the 1st chapter and after reading about the politics and culture of the city--the distant past and leading up to Katrins--I am not surprised that the tragedy that was the aftermath of occurred. I cant wait to finish this book...thus far its well-written and very informative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    Interesting Book

    I already knew quite a bit of the information presented in Mr. Brinkley's book, but I enjoyed the process of reading the information in chronological order. I found myself sincerely shocked again by the lack of urgency to help the folks of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The book does give a sense of the citizen's level of stress, and it is disturbing. The stories of looting were terrible, and equally terrible, it is puzzling to understand how Nagin was relected mayor of New Orleans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2006

    Where are the maps?

    Douglas G. Brinkley's 'The Great Deluge' is a commendable analysis of Hurricane Katrina's impact on NOLA during the first week of its aftermath. Yet, Brinkley, the historian, has omitted maps to give visual detail to his reader, and he has omitted essential tables of resources available, deployed, refused. In my opinion, these are critical deficiencies in a scholarly work.

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