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Posted August 1, 2010
Kathleen Koch's book, Rising From Katrina, revisits a time when I, five years ago, sat mesmerized before the television, watching Hurricane Katrina tear through the Gulf Coast. Her narrative flung me back into the sheer horror of that terrible storm. But, more importantly, it led me, step by step, through the awful aftermath. Her portrayal of the events that followed burned images in my mind I will never forget. Through her words, I saw the utter destruction of the communities where people worked and children played only days before. I saw the residents as they truly were: traumatized, desperate, noble and determined to rebuild. Her observations, both balanced and compassionate, revealed her humanity as she overrode her reporter's training to remain a disinterested observer. Ms. Koch agreed to do her best to find the family and friends of strangers; without thinking, she reached for her wallet when an elderly man told her he had only 14 dollars between him and utter destitution (he chivalrously told her to put her wallet away); she wept over the utter ruin of her hometown and plunged into the early work of keeping residents alive before FEMA's arrival. Her narrative revealed, in moving and comprehensive detail, what is most admirable about the human spirit in the face of complete devastation: our ability to adapt, and survive and surmount adversity, no matter how overwhelming. I highly recommend this book; it is fast paced, a page turner, and destined to become an American classic.
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Posted September 5, 2010
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