Want to know what books Gary Rivlin recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Gary Rivlin's favorite book recommendations of all time.
Gary RivlinI can’t tell you how much I fell in love with this book. Some of it is timing in my life. I was in San Francisco, working for the New York Times covering Silicon Valley and my phone rang. I was asked to go to New Orleans and a journalist friend of mine said ‘you should read this book.’ It was the first book I read. It’s just so splendidly written. This guy is a geographer, he didn’t really know... (Source)
--Stephen Flynn, The Washington Post
When Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on August 29, 2005, federal and state officials were not prepared for the devastation it would bring. In this searing indictment of what went wrong, Christopher Cooper and Robert Block take readers inside FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to reveal the inexcusable mismanagement during the crisis--the bad decisions that were made, the facts that were ignored, and the... more
--Stephen Flynn, The Washington Post
When Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on August 29, 2005, federal and state officials were not prepared for the devastation it would bring. In this searing indictment of what went wrong, Christopher Cooper and Robert Block take readers inside FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to reveal the inexcusable mismanagement during the crisis--the bad decisions that were made, the facts that were ignored, and the individuals who saw that the system was broken but did nothing to fix it.
In this award-winning and critically acclaimed book, Cooper and Block reconstruct the crucial days before and after the storm hit, laying bare the government's inability to respond to the most elemental needs. They also demonstrate how the Bush administration's obsessive focus on terrorist threats fatally undermined the government's ability to respond to natural disasters. The incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina is a wake-up call to all Americans, wherever they live, about how distressingly vulnerable we remain. less
Gary RivlinIt’s interesting you say that, because after the disaster people said it was all about race. I don’t doubt there would have been a difference between 50,000 black folks trapped in New Orleans versus 50,000 mostly white people in Orange County. I’m not saying race isn’t a factor. But ideology was a big factor too. When Bush was a candidate he gave Bill Clinton credit for turning around FEMA [the... (Source)
As the Big One bore down, New Orleanians rich and poor, black and white, lurched from giddy revelry to mandatory evacuation. The thousands who couldn’t or wouldn’t... more
As the Big One bore down, New Orleanians rich and poor, black and white, lurched from giddy revelry to mandatory evacuation. The thousands who couldn’t or wouldn’t leave initially congratulated themselves on once again riding out the storm. But then the unimaginable happened: Within a day 80 percent of the city was under water. The rising tides chased horrified men and women into snake-filled attics and onto the roofs of their houses. Heroes in swamp boats and helicopters braved wind and storm surge to bring survivors to dry ground. Mansions and shacks alike were swept away, and then a tidal wave of lawlessness inundated the Big Easy. Screams and gunshots echoed through the blacked-out Superdome. Police threw away their badges and joined in the looting. Corpses drifted in the streets for days, and buildings marinated for weeks in a witches’ brew of toxic chemicals that, when the floodwaters finally were pumped out, had turned vast reaches of the city into a ghost town.
Horne takes readers into the private worlds and inner thoughts of storm victims from all walks of life to weave a tapestry as intricate and vivid as the city itself. Politicians, thieves, nurses, urban visionaries, grieving mothers, entrepreneurs with an eye for quick profit at public expense–all of these lives collide in a chronicle that is harrowing, angry, and often slyly ironic.
Even before stranded survivors had been plucked from their roofs, government officials embarked on a vicious blame game that further snarled the relief operation and bedeviled scientists striving to understand the massive levee failures and build New Orleans a foolproof flood defense. As Horne makes clear, this shameless politicization set the tone for the ongoing reconstruction effort, which has been haunted by racial and class tensions from the start.
Katrina was a catastrophe deeply rooted in the politics and culture of the city that care forgot and of a nation that forgot to care. In Breach of Faith, Jed Horne has created a spellbinding epic of one of the worst disasters of our time.
From the Hardcover edition. less
Gary RivlinIt’s written with this brawling spirit, you feel the frustration on every page. To remind you, 25,000 people weren’t picked up at the Superdome — a place that ran out of food and water two or three days before, and was medically overwhelmed — for five days. Buses didn’t show up at the Convention Centre until day six, where another 20,000 people were and where there were no provisions. That... (Source)
In The Great Deluge, bestselling author Douglas Brinkley finds the true heroes of this... more
In The Great Deluge, bestselling author Douglas Brinkley finds the true heroes of this unparalleled catastrophe, and lets the survivors tell their own stories, masterly allowing them to record the nightmare that was Katrina. less
Gary RivlinIt’s just this amazing snapshot. What Brinkley did so well is capture this remarkable, awful, surreal week in the life of the Gulf Coast. The storm surge hit and destroyed a lot of homes in Biloxi, Gulfport, places in Mississippi along the coast, the ‘Redneck Riviera,’ as some sarcastically call it. So he tells both stories at once. He had a team of people helping him do these interviews and he... (Source)
Gary RivlinIt focusses on right before, during, and months after the disaster. It’s got two characters. I feel obligated in my book to talk about the president and the mayor and the governor and local officials. What I love about a novelistic treatment is that there are two characters: one is a white, alternative weekly editor. The other character is a black man from the Lower Ninth Ward who ends up in... (Source)
Don't have time to read Gary Rivlin's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.
Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:
- Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
- Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
- Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.