Friday, August 12, 2011

Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House and Beyond / by Michael D. Brown

Anyone involved in the Hurricane Katrina mess likely won't have to remember too hard to recognize the author of this book. Michael "Brownie" Brown is someone a lot of people are still angry at. And while it may not be anytime soon that their opinions change, at least he gets to tell his side of the story. The former undersecretary of Homeland Security and FEMA chief who made a hollow mockery out of press conferences during the Hurricane Katrina disaster and who seemingly had the backing of former President Bush tries to counter the opinion most people have of him and the administration's handling of the disaster. But what could have been at least a semi-sincere, apologetic appeal to the masses is instead an account which places blame a little too often by a man more concerned about his own reputation than any apparent "indifference" shown during the disaster. Though he tries to be objective in some parts, Brown's narrative tends to implicate and and indict more than inform. Everyone from his boss Michael Chertoff (who must at least hold some of the blame) to his boss's bosses (President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld) to the state-level chain of command (Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin) to the media (an especially akward section of the book is dedicated to his on-air interview with Soledad O'Brien) and the American public who stand ready to condemn are included in Brown's rant. Though disappointing, his account is informative and most will want to at least take a look at it. It's also a book which still reflects on the local, cultural environment. (976.044 BROWN)

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