Breach of Faith
is definitely a better-written account of Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath than 1 Dead in Attic
. It's provides more technical information on the flooding process and the engineering mistakes that contributed to it, including several maps that illustrate the flooding patterns. There are more detailed eyewitness accounts and it also has broader behind-the-scenes accounts of the politics involved with the flood. For instance, everyone knows about Marty Bahamonde's (FEMA Aide to Tom Brown) message to Tom Brown about the dire situation in New Orleans and the fact that people were dying, and Tom Brown's response of, "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?" What most of us didn't hear was the following:
"Three hours later, Bahamonde got another response to his increasingly desperate effort to pull his boss's head out of the sand, this time an e-mail from Brown's press secretary scolding Bahamonde for demanding the big man's time and attention. Brown was doing MSNBC's Scarborough Country talk show and really needed to put a good meal in his belly beforehand. They had reservations at Ruth's Chris, a steak house much favored by politicos and lobbyists. "We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choice," press secretary Sharon Worthy messaged Bahamonde, "followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you." Bahamonde was outraged and his message back to people around Worthy was vivid: "OH MY GOD!!!" he began. "No, won't go any further, too easy of a target. Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with thirty thousand other close friends, so I understand her concern about busy restaurants. Maybe tonight I will have time to move the pebbles on the parking garage floor so they don't stab me in the back while I try to sleep, but instead I will hope her wait at Ruth's Chris is short. But I know she is stressed so I won't make a big deal about it and you shouldn't either."
A following chapter details some of the obstructionism practiced by FEMA; refusing to allow Department of the Interior and Red Cross workers to enter the disaster zone to assist due to "safety concerns", using Black Hawk helicopter crews to ferry press rather than rescue victims, forcing a physician to stop performing CPR on a patient at the airport because the doctor wasn't registered with FEMA. A fairly large portion of the book was dedicated to bureaucratic capers, and I feel that the author had to trim the number of these stories he included.
The third quarter of the book got bogged down in the politics of placing blame, recovery, and contract awards. My reading pace slowed quite a bit here; I wasn't very interested in reading about how politicians are crooked. The end of the book did a sort of where-are-they-now chapter for all of the eye witnesses who had been interviewed. That was pretty interesting, as was the discussion of how crime patterns changed locally and in surrounding states. Overall I thought it was a very comprehensive account of Katrina's impact on the country - aside from the chapters on pork barrel projects and backroom deals, it was exactly what I was looking for.Tent City
was a novel I won on accident by commenting in a book discussion forum. It's an indie post-apocalypse/dystopian novel in which a group of teenagers establish a secret settlement in the mountains to escape government forces, which have decided that the only way to save the human race is to gather the young people in work and breeding camps. It's a YA novel involving a love triangle; the same bones that caused me to quickly lose interest in The Hunger Games
. The writing is much better than most indie stuff I've read, but it was still a bit disorganized and unpolished. The author did come up with an interesting phenomena called "Advancement" - a sort of evolutionary leap for some survivors that bestows them with heightened reflexes, reasoning or coercion skills, etc. There was also some hinting that the disasters that caused the world's current state of affairs may be related to events foreshadowed in the Bible (plague of locusts, rivers running red with blood) but there was ample room for those events to be rationally explained. Readers will have to wait for a sequel to see more development on those aspects of the story. I thought this book was a fair first swing at novel writing, but I don't think I'd recommend it unless you absolutely swooned over The Hunger Games