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With the Hurrican Dorian still threatening the Carolinas and POTUS out with his sharpie, I thought today would be a good time to re-introduce readers to three great books about real life experience with hurricanes. From the horror of the actual storm, to the protection of the most vunlerable citizens, to manning up and doing what the aid agencies and government couldn’t get going, all three books are riveting reads.
For anyone in the path of Dorian I am praying. Be safe.
“You should never feel guilty about feeling ambitious when you are trying to help other people. If you don’t dream then reality never changes.”
After hurricane Maria leveled Puerto Rico, chef Jose Andres and others got together to feed the people of the islands while FEMA, the Red Cross and others dithered and followed standard operating procedures that left people hungry, homeless and without hope. Military MREs were given out but were barely edible.
“A plate of food is not just a few ingredients cooked and served together. It is a story of who you are, the source of your pride, the foundation of your family and community. Cooking isn’t just nourishing, it’s empowering.”
As he tells his story, Andres tells of other disasters and how groups responded to the crisis. He documents the many times that President Trump’s TWEETS were nowhere near the reality and times when the President seemingly intentionally mislead the American people on the effort in Puerto Rico. He shows how ridiculous much of the response process is, how much over-spending and under-delivering is involved and how impractical many solutions are. Then he explains how he re-wrote the rule book on feeding people after a disaster….
“The group seemed to like my energy, but that was about it….They looked at me like I was a smart ass with some crazy vision of saving the world.”
You can read the rest of my review of this book HERE.
This book is being devoured by book clubs, so I knew I’d read it eventually. I was apprehensive though–a hospital in the most bungled natural disaster in American history? Wouldn’t it be the ultimate in rubber-necking to read this? No. It was the ultimate in human experience–both the good and the bad kind. I felt for most of the people in this book–most. I won’t say which ones did not earn my sympathy. But it does make all those deadly dull emergency planning meetings I’ve attended over the years seem worthwhile. And those emergency posters SHOULD be posted. Read this book and you WILL volunteer for the Red Cross and go thru their training and answer the call. Ditto FEMA classes (Did you know you can earn college credit for those?). This book is why I generally prefer non-fiction–this is REAL. It happened. These are real people. Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. (This review was originally published on my old blog).
Galveston Hurricane, 1900
Like all of Larson’s books, this is a riveting non-fiction tale that creates more suspense than a good thriller.This story has it all–politics, back-stabbing, cronyism, junk science, real science, colonialism, nepotism–you name it, its in here. Oh and there’s bad weather, too. I read Five Days at Memorial about hurricane Katrina. Imagine Katrina with no Super Dome, no buses to evacuate anyone, no 24/7 t.v. coverage. But this story is also one of lessons learned. Lessons that would later help save lives. At the end I wasn’t sure who I wanted to slap and who I wanted to reward, but I was glad I’d read it. Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson.