Eggers, David

  9 Reviews

When Hurricane Katrina descends on New Orleans, Kathy Zeitoun leaves town with the children while her Muslim American husband Abdulrahman remains behind to secure their business and properties, and once the levees are breached, to help in any way he can. Arrested by the National Guard, he is accused of terrorism and incarcerated without due process. In this astonishing narrative the author interweaves the background of the Zeitouns with the shocking events of this disaster to reveal a family living the American dream transformed into a nightmare.

A gripping expose that leaves you feeling hot under the collar but reassured by the courage and decency of ordinary citizens.

Winner of the American Book Award.

Special note: Abdulrahman and Kathy were divorced in 2012. In July of the same year he was arrested for allegedly attacking Kathy on a public street and then charged with plotting to kill his ex-wife, her son, and another man, as well as offering a fellow inmate $20,000 to commit the crime. In July 2013, Zeitoun was tried and found not guilty of charges of attempted first-degree murder and solicitation of first-degree murder. The state's main witness, who had an extensive multi-state criminal record, was found not credible. (Source: The Times Picayune, New Orleans.)

Comments from Groups

This book was without doubt, the best book we all have read. The discussions were in depth, although some thought the questions were directed from a publishers point of view, only. Wellington 134

All that read enjoyed this book-but were sad to hear of the events that have happened since. The story was an eye-opener as to what happens after a natural disaster, something us Cantabs know about all too well. Christchurch 229,

Amazing book-we couldn't help but feel very angry-frustrated at the system. Queenstown 001

All the group enjoyed the book and were astounded that this could happen in America. Perhaps a bit slow to start. A few of us had visited New Orleans before the storm. All agreed it wasn't a book they would have taken out from the Library-this is what we hoped would happen. WHITBY 006,

Invoked discussion about Christchurch and post-disaster consequences. Wellington 144

All our group was pleased to have read this book and the general concensus was shock that the Homeland Security could act in the way they did. This book generated a lot of lively discussion but we did think Zeitoun was irresponsible to stay on in the area, especially after his wife advised him of what was happening there. An interesting book but not all enjoyed the way it was written. Tauranga 016

We all liked the book-wide ranging discussion on the natural disaster itself and the insights into the human response to it. Wanaka 012



Lots of discussion, we were horrified at the Government's attitude to the needs of all the people effected by hurricane Katrina. We wondered at Zeitoun's choices - not always thinking of his family's needs.
All enjoyed this book. There was a lot to discuss. We were appalled at the conditions Zeitoun was kept in when he was imprisoned. The lack of a Civil Defence force when an emergency happened in New Orleans was an eye opener here in NZ. Hopefully we would be better prepared. A book full of many topics to discuss, including what it means to be a Muslim in America.
TAUP 003
What an eye-opener! Paranoia is alive and well in 2005. Has anything changed in the intervening 10 years
We all found the story compelling and disturbing. We had an interesting discussion about later events in the lives of Kathie and Abdul (accessed via Youtube and Google) and wondered if these too were (in part) an effect of the trauma the couple endured.
A fascinating and gruelling account of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
CHCH 395
This book was enjoyed by everyone in our group. The subject matter was excellent for discussion!
TAKA 001
The content lent itself to a vigorous discussion of a wide range of topics. A bit too much "fluff" (background) which made the reading tedious in the first half of the book. Interesting subject matter: comparisons were made to NZ Police, disaster response and the Christchurch earthquakes.
CHCH 050
Everybody really enjoyed this book. It created a lot of discussion. Members were really interested in discussing the impact of the disaster on American society. This book should be recommended reading.
We had a lively discussion about the horrors experienced by Zeitoun and his family. We discussed martial law and the lawlessness this often brings. This led to a discussion about Trump's US and how some of the divisions in that society have been widened and deepened. We found it distressing that the marriage did not survive this trauma.