Customer Reviews for

Zeitoun

Average Rating 4
( 315 )
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(153)

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(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Zeitoun: A Must Read for Every Citizen of the United States

David Eggers records the horrific events that occur to Mr. Zeitoun and his family during and following Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Zeitoun, a highly trusted and successful building contractor and manager in New Orleans, attempts to keep his properties safe during the catast...
David Eggers records the horrific events that occur to Mr. Zeitoun and his family during and following Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Zeitoun, a highly trusted and successful building contractor and manager in New Orleans, attempts to keep his properties safe during the catastrophic deluge that hits the Gulf Coast. Sadly, Mr. Zeitoun is arrested and suffers grave mistreatment and endless indignities because he is a devout Muslim. That he is a peaceful man, an honest businessman, a loving family man, means little to his jailers who stereotype him as a Middle Eastern threat. David Eggers describes in riveting detail the atrocities suffered by Mr. Zeitoun while in the hands of American soldiers. That our country could resort to such lawless inhumanity is shocking, but that we have not heard the full story before is even more shocking. It is every citizen's duty to read this book and to know what happened.

posted by 3599290 on May 17, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Could have been better...

While Zeitoun was an interesting story about a man who stayed behind during and through the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that it was lacking in components that make up a good story. Since the book was nonfiction I thought it was easy to find that the author was trying...
While Zeitoun was an interesting story about a man who stayed behind during and through the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that it was lacking in components that make up a good story. Since the book was nonfiction I thought it was easy to find that the author was trying not to reveal too much in the beginning of the story so that readers would still be interested. While this is a god idea most of the time, it causes the story to slowly progress and puts off the reader from reading this book. He also dwelled a little too much in Zeitoun's past for my liking. He was constantly backtracking throughout the story and took to much time on his past. I also found it strange that he did not mention a lot about his son and in pictures of their family they do not include him. I believe he only mentions Zachary about 10 times in the story. And when he needs to get to school instead of taking him to school he is left to make breakfast and find a way to school on his own. Instead of taking Zachary to school they find it more important to take the daughters to school. Is he not important enough? I feel that he doesn't get enough attention because he isn't Zeitoun's real son. For the sake of Zachary I truly hope that this is not an actuality. Overall I thought this book had a good story but was not laid out very well at all.

posted by Dukhead on October 5, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    Zeitoun: A Must Read for Every Citizen of the United States

    David Eggers records the horrific events that occur to Mr. Zeitoun and his family during and following Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Zeitoun, a highly trusted and successful building contractor and manager in New Orleans, attempts to keep his properties safe during the catastrophic deluge that hits the Gulf Coast. Sadly, Mr. Zeitoun is arrested and suffers grave mistreatment and endless indignities because he is a devout Muslim. That he is a peaceful man, an honest businessman, a loving family man, means little to his jailers who stereotype him as a Middle Eastern threat. David Eggers describes in riveting detail the atrocities suffered by Mr. Zeitoun while in the hands of American soldiers. That our country could resort to such lawless inhumanity is shocking, but that we have not heard the full story before is even more shocking. It is every citizen's duty to read this book and to know what happened.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Could have been better...

    While Zeitoun was an interesting story about a man who stayed behind during and through the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that it was lacking in components that make up a good story. Since the book was nonfiction I thought it was easy to find that the author was trying not to reveal too much in the beginning of the story so that readers would still be interested. While this is a god idea most of the time, it causes the story to slowly progress and puts off the reader from reading this book. He also dwelled a little too much in Zeitoun's past for my liking. He was constantly backtracking throughout the story and took to much time on his past. I also found it strange that he did not mention a lot about his son and in pictures of their family they do not include him. I believe he only mentions Zachary about 10 times in the story. And when he needs to get to school instead of taking him to school he is left to make breakfast and find a way to school on his own. Instead of taking Zachary to school they find it more important to take the daughters to school. Is he not important enough? I feel that he doesn't get enough attention because he isn't Zeitoun's real son. For the sake of Zachary I truly hope that this is not an actuality. Overall I thought this book had a good story but was not laid out very well at all.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    American Nightmare

    When a man-made catastrophe met a natural disaster, the American Dream became an American nightmare. For the Zeitoun a low pressure center named Katrina exaggerated the bigotry and biases stirred by the events of 9-11. For anyone who is Muslim and of Middle Eastern descent, the misguided hatred of the last ten years has brought untold suffering to Americans. Dave Eggers successfully weaves the stories of a pending storm and a country in moral crisis.

    This is a book that feels fiction in its telling, and the sobering truth is it is really true. I am left saddened that this story is but one of many that could be told, if we wanted to hear about the America we currently are protecting with laws that take away freedom and rights that our forefathers and mothers died for us to enjoy.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Highly Recommend-a great read, and a strong message!

    What started as a simple story of a family living in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina turns into a memorable and compelling story of the United States' mistreatment and misunderstanding of other cultures in a time of crisis. Though parts of the book will fuel any readers anger towards the way our public figures handled the disaster, Zeitoun is a must read. Readers will become engulfed in the tribulations the Zeitoun family preserves through. Everything from the flooding of their house, the distance between husband and wife throughout the disaster, and the uproar caused by the US police department. Along with this account of Katrina comes the message to all of us that we must not judge another based on religion, race, or gender. Dave Eggers writes this story phenomenally and in a way that every person will connect with the Zeitoun family and have a new compassion for those families who undergo these types of struggles.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good reading but...

    The story is no doubt interesting and the author attempts to keep the interest to the reader. Being a true story I can attest to the author trying to keep a balance of not revealing too much in the beginning which would make the story not worth reading. Unfortunately this is what I find the author doing. Right from the beginning in what I assume to be bait to the reader, the pace is far too slow with more than necessary detours. At some point you want to skip the pages so as to get to what the author wants to really say. Although I commend the author on his consistency, as I re-read the book I thought it may have been better if he kept to a minimum the "to and fro" writing style and instead completed one scene.if you like.

    The hardest thing after reading this book is to accept that this could be happening in America. Knowing that Zeitouni is from Syria, I think the picture I got from what he did was more of an over glorified person. Almost diminishing what the rescue teams did. In fact the book lacked a clear balance of the good the government did, and rather focused more on Zeitouni and his mini mission. I believe the author had done very good research but his delivery was rather 'selfish' and he leaves the reader not asking for more but with a bitter taste in the mouth. Something like ."really?"

    All in all, it's a good book to read, tells you how mean and tough the world can be at times. Sadly this can happened anywhere anytime.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Great Book for ALL ages!!

    Although the book started out a little slow, it was so much more than I ever expected. The entire time I was reading I was recalling my own memories of news reports during that horrible time in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. There were so many other topics to consider during this one family's ordeal (flood, famine, finances, religion, profiling, etc.). Who knew one book could have it all?! Enjoy!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Great Book

    What national disaster outrages you more? The poor handling of the devastation of hurricane Katrina by our government or the outrages treatment of Arab American citizens after 9/11/2001? In Zeitoun Abdurrahman suffers from both the devastating effects of hurricane Katrina, and unrightfull discrimination by his own government, due to his race.
    Abdurrahman is an Arabic American citizen from a small fishing town in Syria. Living the first half of his adult life out on sea working ships with his older brother, Ahmed, Abdurrahman settles in New Orleans, where he picks up his nickname as Zeitoun. Shortly after coming to America Zeitoun marries a recent convert to Islam and starts his own painting and contracting business. In 2005 when hurricane Katrina began to threaten the New Orleans area Zeitoun decided to stay and look over his home as Kathy, his wife, takes the kids to safety.
    As the conditions get worst in New Orleans Zeitoun decides to stay and to help whom he can from a canoe he bought a few years prior. But as conditions escalate in New Orleans Zeitoun is taken by the US government for reasons unknown, and unwarranted.
    This book encompasses two very under publicized events and is very informative; as well as fantastic read. I highly recommend this college freshmen.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Exposes some unbelievable events and circumstances

    The low key writing style of this author is the strength of this book. It's a true story about a real family and the actual events they experience as a result of hurricane Katrina. As most residents of New Orleans struggle to exit the city, Zeitoun chooses to stay to protect his properties and investments. The first thing that resonates with this book is the character of Zeitoun. He's a hardworking family man who immigrated to the United States from Syria. The events that unfold in the aftermath of Katrina are told from his perspective in a straight forward no nonsense style. He experiences the devastation of the storm followed by another nightmare, more potent and with longer lasting scars. He recounts the devastating effect of a society regressing to substandard mores and the result of being a Syrian immigrant during a national disaster. While reading I had to constantly remind myself this was not fiction and found it hard to believe such events could happen in America. It's an amazing story that is equal parts haunting and inspiring and leaves you wondering what else happened that was not reported. Some of the sections that deal with Zeitoun's background information are a little to long, but don't let that deter you from reading this piece of work

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    As close to suffering through a disaster as I ever hope to encounter!

    Any review I can write can not do this wonderful book justice.

    The saga of the Zeitoun family before, during and after Hurricane Katrina told without sensationalizing details (as if that were possible!) gives a probing insight into human beings stripped down of all pretenses of 'civilized' behavior, dealing with a natural disaster of immense and unprecedented proportions. Circumstances can turn some men into heroes (helping to rescue trapped neighbors and feeding trapped animals left behind to fend for themselves). It can also turn others into something not quite so noble (depriving others of their basic human rights, taking advantage of the situation for their own benefit and simple prejudice).

    This is truly an eye opening look at the Katrina disaster from a unique perspective. We are truly on the inside riding out the storm in our own homes. What type of person would you become? I hope this is as close as I ever come to finding out!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Informative and eye-opening read

    I found Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun to be a thrilling and informative read. We all know about the great devastation that occurred to the city of New Orleans after the hurricane, but I myself and probably many others may not of known about the great devastation to New Orleans’ citizens. Every American has to read this book to ensure injustices and flaws in the system that were brought to my attention during this book do not reoccur.

    After the hurricane, New Orleans did become a third world country. People’s rights were forgotten and thrown aside. People were arrested against their will. Terrible events occurred that I never knew the extent of until reading this book. I heard all about the damage to the land but not the damage to the families and people that stuck around. Not the suffering and injustice they experienced.

    I knew about the people trapped and being rescued, but not about the arrests made without any reason for arrest at all. People like Zeitoun were taken against their will and locked up in a prison because they looked suspicious. These men were only trying to protect their belongings, but the police arrested them at gunpoint as if they were uncontrollable murderers. It is amazing to me that such a well-respected man as Zeitoun could experience such severe discrimination. When he was brought to the prison he was treated differently because of his ethnic background. Also, the fact that none of these men could even contact their families when arrested shocked me. Every prisoner has the right to their one phone call and I never knew that these suffering people were denied that.

    Overall the events that occurred and were explained in this book shocked me. I saw an ugly side of the situation down in New Orleans that I never knew about prior. This is why it is so important for people to read this book or books similar to this one. Then, next time a horrific disaster occurs such as Hurricane Katrina we can provide the help necessary. We can make sure the prisoners are well cared for and rescued properly, to spare as many lives as possible. I enjoyed reading this book; it opened my eyes to the world around me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Great!

    Spoiler Alert: Dave Eggers puts an intriguing twist on this nonfiction story by adding a dash of fictional allusion to the event. Eggers ability to make a true-life story so tangible is illuminated throughout this book as he zooms in on the Zeitoun family. The Zeitouns are one of the many families who were tossed into the whirlwind of events during hurricane Katrina. Kathy, Zeitoun's wife, who is the practical thinker in the family, evacuates New Orleans with their four children before the hurricane hits, while her stubborn, yet excessively compassionate husband remains behind as he refuses to leave. Unfortunately, the proliferating storm leaves considerable damage in its rampage throughout the city. People, dogs, homes, cars and anything else that were lucky enough to survive were all left behind in great danger. For days Kathy is unable to reach her husband and she tears herself apart with stress and agony as her wild imagination only paints the worst. While Kathy is miles away from Zeitoun, and is only hoping for the best, Zeitoun is paddling around in his canoe trying to ease the harsh reality by rescuing any living creature he encounters. However, just when you think that the story is taking a positive turn, Eggers throws a curve ball and the unexpected should most definitely be expected. Zeitoun is unrightfully arrested on false accusations and is thrown into a cage where he suffers for weeks on end with no way of contacting Kathy. Intertwined within the recollection of all these events, Eggers also highlights racial struggles that the Zeitoun family commonly encounters due to the 9/11/01 terrorist attack. Not only will you find a coalition of tragic events and triumphs within these pages, but you will also discover the hardships the Zeitoun's encounter in their search not only for freedom from behind bars, but also for their treasured morals and culture. Eggers powerfully portrays each realistic struggle by writing in a style that makes the story relatable to anyone, whether you were directly or indirectly affected by Katrina. Faith, persistence, and a yearn to continue building on are the themes you will be left hanging onto after laying this book down.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    A Wonderful Story

    Zeitoun is the kind of book that, while reading, the events seem so unreal that you have to constantly remind yourself that it is a true story. The gripping tale of a man in the midst of disaster will have you on your toes the whole time, wondering what is going to happen next. As a biography of a different sort, the events that occur in Zeitoun will make you question both the government and even society itself. The book gives the reader an entirely different perspective of hurricane Katrina--it takes you through the unbelievable series of events that occur to an honest man, who is simply trying to help people and calm the storm.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Hard to believe this could happen in America

    This book was interesting and well written from the start. My first Eggers book, I plan to read more. Without giving away the story, I was shocked someone in the US could be treated like this. I had a hard time knowing it was a true story. Recently I took a trip to NYC and there were several middle eastern men on the flight, I am a nervous flier anyway but I kept telling myself I was being prejudice just like the people in this book and I had to stop! I Think this book will make me more aware how I react to people that dress or look different than myself, not a bad thing for anyone. I not only learned from the book, I enjoyed reading it from the start.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I loved this book. Couldn't put it down.

    I loved this book. Couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Book was a little drawn out, needed  a editor bad to clean up th

    Book was a little drawn out, needed  a editor bad to clean up the flow of the story. Be careful not to have a one  sided view in this story as the Zeitoun we see hear had a history of Domestic violence the Author doesn't mention before giving him this title of hero. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    I love Zeitoun!

    This book is honestly one if the best books Ive ever read in my entire life. It changed my perspective on the world i live in. Eggers allows his readers to form their own opinions by refusing to insert his own. He has crafted a beautifully story that everyine should read at least once in their life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    There is a story here but the author strained to stretch it out

    There is a story here but the author strained to stretch it out to book length. Parts of the story are chilling and compelling, but the extraordinarily drawn-out passages badly needed an editor to tighten it up significantly. I wanted to like it, after seeing the movie "Trouble the Waters" (highly recommended with first-hand footage). I did finish it but was exhausted and frustrated by the time wasted in unnecessary verbiage.

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  • Posted August 2, 2013

    A story about a man and his love for family and community

    Nicely done book which tells a family's story of their experiences before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. While I'm not surprised by what Zeitoun had to go through after the storm, it's still shameful and heartbreaking. Blame for it can go to all levels of government. But this book isn't about the political breakdowns in the aftermath of Katrina. It's the story of a man displaying love for his family and community, and performing heroics that almost no one would know about if not for the book. Unlike what was shown ad nauseum on TV post-Katrina, there are vastly more people like Zeitoun who make up the citizens of the great city of New Orleans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    An important story that should not be missed.

    An engrossing story about Hurricane Katrina, humanity and inhumanity. Thankful that this story was told.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Zeitouns

    Loved this read

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