Zeitoun

Zeitoun

by Dave Eggers
4.1 321

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Overview

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Eggers’s riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun’s roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy — an American who converted to Islam — and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun was possible. Like What Is the What, Zeitoun was written in close collaboration with its subjects and involved vast research — in this case, in the United States, Spain, and Syria.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781934781630
Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
Publication date: 07/15/2009
Pages: 342
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including You Shall Know Our Velocity, winner of the Independent Book Award, and What Is the What, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in southern Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng and dedicated to building secondary schools in southern Sudan. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces books, an eponymous quarterly journal, a monthly magazine (The Believer), and Wholphin, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Boston. In 2004, Eggers taught at the University of California–Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and there, with Dr. Lola Vollen, he co-founded Voice of Witness, a series of books using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. A native of Chicago, Eggers graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

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Zeitoun 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 321 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Dukhead More than 1 year ago
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.
fischettij More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!
princetonbookreview More than 1 year ago
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
iluvvideo More than 1 year ago
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!
Julmwa More than 1 year ago
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.
Grace84GD More than 1 year ago
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.
ackimes More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Sapeoblast More than 1 year ago
For most people, Katrina was nothing more than a far away catastrophe that was horrific, or even embarrassing, to watch on television. For weeks, the media portrayed New Orleanians as savage criminals, preying not only on one another but on the city that they supposedly loved so much. Then the media coverage stopped. Sure, Brad Pitt got a few minutes on MTV News every now and then. Former Presidents are known to swing on through to say a few words, eat a beignet, then be on their way. But what really happened during the storm!? For any non-New Orleanian, it would be nearly impossible to not conjure up imagines of the war-like conditions experiences in the Superdome and in front of the Convention Center. This won't be held against you. You didn't chose the images you received. Big media conglomerates did. What you didn't see for the mast part were the hundreds of people who stayed behind in the city to help their fellow citizens and protect the city itself in what has since been billed as the Battle of New Orleans. Coupling a compassionate appreciation for true heroics with an outstanding journalistic professionalism, Dave Eggers presents us with just such a story, that of Abdulrahman Zeitoun. Zeitoun, as he is known, is a Syrian-American-New-Orleanian who has lived in New Orleans for years, cultivating a small painting business that has helped to maintain some of the grandest properties in this historic city. With Katrina approaching, Zeitoun opts not to evacuate the city with his family, but rather stay behind to protect not only their own property but those of his clients who but so much weight on Zeitouns unwavering professionalism. The story that ensues is one of horrific tragedy, embarrassing folly, and unbelievable courage. Though Eggers, Zeitoun's mini-odyssey through hell and back sheds light on the tenacity, goodwill and outright absurdity that are such common features of true, die-hard New Orleanians. This is a story of Katrina. This is a story of America. Please enjoy and share. See you in New Orleans!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heartbreaking read but i couldn't put it down. The fourth book by Eggers I've read and each one hit my right here. This one could've been a little shorter and lacked any humor but maybe that's just how the story went.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is pretty decent and good if you are a bookworm.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mollycassidy24 More than 1 year ago
Dave Egger’s book “Zeitoun” tells the story of a man who stays behind in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in order to watch over his different properties. Zeitoun is a successful businessman originally from Syria with a loving wife and four children. The story switches between his actual experience in New Orleans throughout the storm, his wife’s point of view after leaving the city, and various tales from his youth spent both in Syria and traveling. Instead of simply managing his property, Zeitoun decides to help care for those trapped in their homes or left without a sustainable food supply. This book also explores how the tragic situation in New Orleans was handled by different government organizations in an extremely poor manner. Zeitoun begins the storm by waiting it out within his home and neighborhood, but is later taken prisoner in a makeshift jail at the local train station. He is left there without knowing what he has done wrong and is not given the chance to speak with his wife and family. This ultimately leads to a story of reflection and criticism of our government. While reading, it is extremely difficult to comprehend how the things explained in Zeitoun’s account of events occurred in the US only a decade ago. The citizens of New Orleans were treated as animals. Dead bodies floated down the street, while others were left to suffer in cages with no way of contacting the outside world. Help was not given where it was needed, but rather local efforts were put toward punishing those in need. It is astonishing how ill prepared the city, or country even, was for such a large scale natural disaster. As someone who has volunteered in New Orleans, it kills me how similar the way Zeitoun described the city post hurricane is to how it looks even today. This story is still relevant, and should help persuade readers to realize how corrupt the way Katrina was dealt with really was and also how much help the city is still in need of ten years later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
autiemautie More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
whodatfan More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago