Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster

Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster

by Michael Eric Dyson


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When Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands were left behind to suffer the ravages of destruction, disease, and even death. The majority of these people were black; nearly all were poor. The Federal government's slow response to local appeals for help is by now notorious. Yet despite the cries of outrage that have mounted since the levees broke, we have failed to confront the disaster's true lesson: to be poor, or black, in today's ownership society, is to be left behind. Displaying the intellectual rigor, political passion, and personal empathy that have won him acclaim and fans all across the color line, Michael Eric Dyson offers a searing assessment of the meaning of Hurricane Katrina. Combining interviews with survivors of the disaster with his deep knowledge of black migrations and government policy over decades, Dyson provides the historical context that has been sorely missing from public conversation. He explores the legacy of black suffering in America since slavery and ties its psychic scars to today's crisis. And, finally, his critique of the way black people are framed in the national consciousness will shock and surprise even the most politically savvy reader. With this clarion call Dyson warns us that we can only find redemption as a society if we acknowledge that Katrina was more than an engineering or emergency response failure. From the TV newsroom to the Capitol Building to the backyard, we must change the way we relate to the black and the poor among us. What's at stake is no less than the future of democracy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465017720
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 07/02/2007
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.95(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including Holler if You Hear Me, Is Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Preface: Pompeii and 8/29     ix
Unnatural Disasters: Race and Poverty     1
Does George W. Bush Care About Black People?     16
The Politics of Disaster     34
Hurricane and Hesitation     54
Levees and Lies     76
Follow the Leader?     88
Guns and Butter (or FEMA-nizing Disaster)     108
Capitalizing on Disaster     128
Frames of Reference: Class, Caste, Culture, and Cameras     140
Supernatural Disasters? Theodicy and Prophetic Faith     178
Epilogue: Transforming the Jericho Road     203
Afterword: Great Migrations?     213
Notes     223
Acknowledgments     257
Index     259

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Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
LaurenGommert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was nothing more than a ridiculous attempt to place blame on anyone and everyone besides the people who should be blamed. Katrina was a horrific occurance but to blatantly state that the events that occured did so because of race is ignorant and wrong. Furthermore, Dyson seems to love to stereotype white Americans, while placing absolutely no blame on those individuals who refused to evacuate the area. In short...I hated this book and would gladly give it away!
Cat_Rayner More than 1 year ago
Dr. Dyson provides an indepth, analytical point of view of the events leading to the tragic events in New Orleans. This book provides insight into the governmental oversight along with the tough of war at each level. Despite years of warning, the government at each level preferred to ignore leading experts in the field. Readers will develop an understanding of how the levels of government work with and against each other. This is this first insightful and reflective book providing the accounts from survivors of this disaster.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Katrina Disaster was unfortunate, yet our nation's response was a disaster. I'm happy someone decided to document this to search behind the scenes about the 'lack of care and attention' our African-Americans received. Thank you Michael Eric Dyson.