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Zeitoun

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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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  • 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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  • 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 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 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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  • 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 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 August 2, 2012

    Very interesting read.

    Very interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Excellent read

    New eyes on an experience many of us feel we understand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Pretty Frightening

    Although Zeitoun starts out slowly, when the pace picks up it is a frightening page-turner. When one person goes through what Zeitoun went through, we all should question our freedoms. The previous book I read was One Second After, and Zeitoun was much scarier. Though the story is one-sided, if true, we should all be frightened and ashamed we allowed it to happen. An important, good read.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    And in Happened in America

    Very good book about the flodding in New Orleans and the aftermath, and a view of life in a "military state" in modern America. One of the better books I have read in the last few years.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    A Terrible Truth that We Should All make ourselves Aware of.

    The book Zeitoun offers a rare perspective on a disaster that has plagued America since its occurrence, a perspective that goes beyond the hero stories to expose a fundamental act of injustice enacted upon an American family. The saga of the Zeitoun family exposes to us a truth in our world we'd rather ignore; that America is not as free as we perceive it to be. Disaster can bring out both the best and worst in people; we see examples such as Mr. Zeitoun staying behind to help not only his neighbor's dogs, but his neighbors themselves during hurricane Katrina. However it is the nature of humanity to act on both good and bad traits, and it is the nature of disaster to amplify either one or the other. Zeitoun falls prey to the worst of men. He is subject to profiling, racism, and brutality. All of this is done without rights, in the shadows of a Grey Hound bus station. This book raises the question; are we really free.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    Recommended to the Millions

    Dave Egger's portrait of a New Orleans family affected by Hurrican Katrina reveals the government's ineptitude, thoughtlessness, and brutality during this gloomy moment in our nation's history. The gripping story of a man and his family trapped in the middle of disaster will have you on edge the whole time, constantly wondering what is going to happen next. At times the events in this book seem so unreal you have to frequently remind yourself that it is a true story making it a truly thrilling read. Telling the tale through the eyes of the Zeitouns, a Muslim family of five trying to live the American dream, Egger details the multitude ways in which officials managed to make an already distressing condition worse for the people of New Orleans. The author takes you through an astonishing series of events that occur to a good man, who is simply trying to help people and bring tranquility after the storm. I highly recommend this book and guarantee if you stick through the somewhat tedious and repetitive parts it will bring high rewards in the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    Great Book! Warning: This review is a spoiler!

    The Zeitoun's family story is not your typical family story. Abdulrahman Zeitoun is an immigrant from Syria who moved to America to start his new life. In America, Zeitoun meets his wife, Kathy, and together they run one of New Orleans most well-known contracting businesses. Over the course of many years Zeitoun never really ran into any racial problems; however, after 9-11 he starts to encounter some ethnic profiling. This nonfiction story is about how Zeitoun is treated when he is arrested during Hurricane Katrina and how the Patriot Act stripped all rights away from him following his arrest. I would definitely recommend the book Zeitoun to other people because it reveals the side of Hurricane Katrina that many people know nothing about. I also believe that people should read this book because it documents how important it is to not stereotype a person because of their race or religion. These problems are evident in the book when Zeitoun is arrested and is accused of being a terrorist just because of his race and religion. After his arrest Zeitoun is never read his rights or given a phone call, both which are Americans' rights stated in the Constitution. Dave Eggers tackles many issues in Zeitoun that affect Americans' rights no matter what age or race that they are. Everyone should read this book because it makes the reader appreciate the rights that you have and also makes you think before you judge a person by their heritage.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    This book is highly recommended, and involves many genres for all ages!

    Every summer throughout modern history, tropical storms and hurricanes traverse the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico causing catastrophic devastation to its nearby inhabitants and their natural resources. To those living among the coastal regions, this not only endangers their homes and safety, but everything that the residents have worked so hard in their lives to form. In the non - fiction writing of Zeitoun, author Dave Eggers, characters are not only pushed to their limit in order to emphasize how they transgress from living to surviving, but how their hearts are broken from the division nature has put forth. Zeitoun is a true story that is the telling about how a man from New Orleans stays within its closed walls willingly as the prospective death - trap, Hurricane Katrina, slowly approaches from the Southeast. Throughout all of the storm's heart - wrenching catastrophes Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the main character, still refuses to leave his home. Whether this is because he thinks that everything will be all right, or that he simply does not want to be called a coward and let his clients down - he is a contractor and painter - Zeitoun chooses to stay. His wife, Kathy, and his children do choose to leave at the beginning of the storm. They remain in a safe state physically, but are desperate within while awaiting Zeitoun. In this story, the main character undergoes a tragedy exaggerated by the government, and is forced to deal with it alone, despite his rights as an American. This was a thrilling book, and it contains all of the necessary requirements for a best seller, and more, and all of the proceeds for this book go to charity. This is a romantic and inspiring story, and I highly recommend this to any reader of all ages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    In his book Zeitoun, Eggers shows how human virtues (such as honesty, courage, tolerance, and love) are carelessly tossed to the side when in contact with cultural and religious differences. Eggers also exposes the United States' "unalienable rights" given to all people, and how our country holds the ultimate power to strip any one individual of these rights, especially when faced with cultural and religious variations. This novel starts out slowly and vague, but throughout the time of the storm, the story becomes more interesting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. You take the journey with a Muslim man in a country where many people hate his culture, and you see the world from the eyes of a victim. You stand by him when he is being a country's hero by saving the people who are hurt. You will hurt with him when stripped of his rights, you will rejoice with him when justice is finally served,and you will wish that there was just one more chapter, so that you can see the after effects of what he has experienced while being a victim of not only a devastating storm, but also a cruel country. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Zeitoun encompasses multiple problems faced in our culture's society moreover exposes how our country responds to those of other cultures. It will keep you in a tight grip throughout the entire novel, which is something that not all books are capable of doing. I enjoyed it from front cover to back and I believe that Zeitoun is well deserving of it's awards.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    If you want second thoughts about your country, read this!

    A storm is approaching the city of New Orleans, but the storm leaves behind more than property damage. It leaves behind the Zeitoun family who will be forever scarred by the social injustice done to Abdulrahman Zeitoun. As Katrina is predicted to make landfall within the week, Zeitoun decides to stay with his business and property as many of us may have decided, as Katrina appeared to be "just another hurricane"; however, the after math of Katrina will prove to be different from the storms in the past, by exposing the flaws within our governmental process as well as questioning America's value for humanity. Dave Egger's Zeitoun is a thought provoking nonfiction account of the hardships during and after Katrina through the eyes of a Muslim family within an America where the wounds dealt from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 are still fresh. After reading Zeitoun, you will question whether America is truly the "Land of the Free".

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    A quick summary and reasoning

    Zeitoun is a very easily read book about a Syrian man during the hurricane Katrina. He, like many others, stayed to watch over his home during hurricane Katrina. His wife left with their three children to go stay and family and friends houses, but never letting the thought of their husband and father out of their minds. Zeitoun, the main character, is an adventurous middle-aged man who goes through the flooded town of New Orleans rescuing the distressed and feeding stray dogs. He manages to call his beloved once a day using a phone in a house that he rents out to tenants. Kathy, Zeitouns wife, is constantly watching the news; as is Zeitouns older brother Ahmad in spain. They are both worried about the looters and the military that is running havoc in New Orleans, but they have little chance of changing Zeitoun's decision to stay. Soon there is little to do for Zeitoun and the military is also in search of things to do. The military soon arrest Zeitoun and the three others that he has become friends with. Nothing was done with the rights that they have, no rights were read upon their arrest. When they arrived to the makeshift prison they were booked without being told what they were being arrested for, only mumbled words from the bystanders of Al Quada and terrorists were said. The cages were harsh, the food was harsh, and the punishment was excruciatingly harsh. The lesson of the book is to expose how innocent people can be easily mistaken for something much more serious than they are.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2011

    A great weekend read! Spoiler alert for those that must discover everything themselves.

    Dave Eggers, author of the book Zeitoun describes the plight of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian immigrant and his wife Kathy, a Louisiana native during the turmoil resulting from the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Kathy decides to evacuate the City of New Orleans to protect their children. However, Zeitoun stubbornly ignores Kathy's pleas to evacuate with them and stays behind in New Orleans to protect their property and the properties of their clients. Just after Hurricane Katrina passes, Zeitoun is relieved that relatively little damage has been done, but soon comes to grip with the terrible fact that the levees protecting New Orleans have failed and that a disaster that no one is prepared for is happening. Zeitoun in a heroic effort sets off in a canoe to confront the disaster by rescuing his neighbors. In this first half of the book, Dave Eggers describes Zeitoun's actions in vivid detail as Zeitoun paddles around the desolate and flooded streets while Kathy deals with a difficult evacuation that strain extended family relationships. However, Kathy is comforted by her scheduled daily communications with Zeitoun.
    In the second half of the book, Dave Eggers describes how Zeitoun and three others are mistaken for looters resulting in their arrest. Eggers further details how Zeitoun is mistreated while imprisoned and denied any contact with the outside world including Kathy. As a result, Kathy as well as Zeitoun's family gives Zeitoun up for dead after several weeks of no contact. Fortunately, a missionary takes a risk to call Kathy and inform that Zeitoun is alive but imprisoned near Baton Rouge. Kathy fights a huge bureaucracy to help win Zeitoun's release from prison. Ultimately, however, Zeitoun is released from prison. Zeitoun is humbled by his experience, yet is optimistic about his future. As the years passed, Kathy sought answers as to why Zeitoun was arrested and was relieved somewhat to discover that Zeitoun was not really singled out because of his religion for arrest. However, she was discouraged that the United States Federal government could allow the U.S. Justice system to descend to that of a third world country and deny due process to its citizens. Nevertheless, the Zeitouns decide to remain in New Orleans to rebuild their lives, and Zeitoun himself has become driven to rebuild and make his adopted city and country a better place. In fact, a foundation established by the Zeitoun family and aptly named the Zeitoun Foundation is dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans.
    Overall, I found the book to be quite interesting and I highly recommend adding it to your collection. However, the book gets off to a slow start by depicting an excessive amount of Zeitoun's childhood reflections. I realize that the author Dave Eggers is attempting to humanize the characters, but I could have skipped most of the reflective descriptions and still received the complete message of the book, which is to describe the incompetence of the Federal response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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