A book that preserves testimony that might have disappeared amid the news cycles and Web overflow.

PLEASE FORWARD

HOW BLOGGING RECONNECTED NEW ORLEANS AFTER KATRINA

A collection of blog posts bears witness to the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

As an assemblage of mostly short Internet writings from the two years after natural disaster and official mismanagement devastated New Orleans, the contents here are necessarily uneven, but the most powerful will move readers to outrage. Just as eyes might start to glaze over the accumulation of detail and loss, Greg Peters provides a wake-up slap: “You’ve given up on us because we’re poor, black, Southern. We’re clowns, partying all day, drinking all night….We’re not going to go away. We are going to keep staggering along, demanding attention, pulling on your sleeve like some scabby beggar who knows you from another life….And if we go down, we’re going to take you down with us.” Like a compression of the stages of grief, the chronological progression of the blog posts moves from benumbed description through lashing back (at the national and local governments, the insurance companies, the media that has gotten so much wrong) to a sort of celebration, as residents returned and Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and the New Orleans Saints resumed. Much of this would be classified as “citizen journalism,” yet many of the entries are from professional journalists, writing from a perspective more personal than they’d likely commit to print, as well as activists, chefs, musicians, poets, and a wide representation from the cultural gumbo that informs the city. According to editor Joyce, it “reveals a layer of post-Katrina life that wasn’t typically picked up by traditional news outlets or preserved in any official record.” Invoking the notion of “Katrina fatigue,” Peter King from Sports Illustrated writes, “What I saw was a national disgrace. An inexcusable, irresponsible, borderline criminal national disgrace….Damn right I’m ticked off. If you’re breathing, you should be morally outraged.”

A book that preserves testimony that might have disappeared amid the news cycles and Web overflow.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60801-108-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: UNO Press

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

  • National Book Award Winner

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more