BOOK REVIEWS

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-19 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0544586174
LANGUAGE:English

"The story of Hurricane Katrina, the massive loss of human lives, pets, property, culture, and faith in our government and leaders is depicted beautifully in this graphic novel. From the simple yet powerful words, to the illustrations that describe a situation more than words ever could, we are taken on a journey that we all hope to never have to take. The illustrations do such a fantastic job of portraying the desperation, horror, and hopelessness that was felt by many. The colors used were very muted and dark. They were almost as dreary and sad as the topic itself. Not only do we get a glimpse at the storm, but the human reaction to the storm, and the very human solutions to aid in survival. It this book doesn't pull on your feely strings, I'm not sure anything will. Breathtaking." said.

"I have read a lot of nonfiction graphic novels that are not very good.

Don Brown is similar to Rick Geary in that he's figured out a style that works really well.
Like many graphic novels about true things, Brown relies heavily on captions and narration to tell the story. This is not a character-based depiction, like A.D. After the Deluge. And these characteristics make up a style that is occasionally done really badly. Sometimes, stories told in this way feel like illustrated essays, and not fully integrated sequential art (see Scott McCloud's work on how important it is for the words and pictures to depend on each other). But Brown has figured out how to do this well.

Perhaps one of the reasons his stuff works is that his illustrations sometimes take on the spirit of an infographic. His use of color is evocative and emotional, and he knows when to let an image take over an entire page.

This is solid, solid work. His stuff is regularly nominated for awards, and I believe many educators are using this stuff in the classroom (as they should!). I'm not sure how many teens will pick this up on their own, but if they're interested in the topic, they should.

Read with:
A.D., mentioned above
Orleans
" said.

"What amazed me most about this graphic novel was how well it depicts the devastation that Hurricane Katina caused in New Orleans and in the surrounding communities. The intensity, distress and ugliness that surrounded this event were felt throughout the illustrations and in the text. As this storm gathers steam in Africa in the beginning pages and it makes its way across the Atlantic waters, I could see the swirling black mass approaching the coastline, getting darker and gathering strength, as individuals are being warned to leave. Some residents have decided to stay, their reasons being personal or transportation has become an issue for them. There seems to be lack of communication between the residents and the individuals in charge and I found throughout this novel, there are many instances of this, where people are not communicating with one another and this lack of communication causes major issues in this disaster. Free city buses were supposedly offered to help individuals evacuate but it seems that these buses never showed up. Later, rescue efforts to retrieve individuals trapped by flood waters had them choosing whether they wanted to be rescued or stay where they were with their pets. For some individuals their pet(s) are their lives and they choose to stay with their pet(s) putting their lives in danger. Its instances like this that made me realize the magnitude of this event. Don’t get me started on the Superdome, but I was glad that Don covers it in great deal in this graphic novel.


Individuals were acting alone and this novel shows the isolation that many in the community felt and what it finally takes for the issues to get resolved. This is not a novel that you can read quickly, it is an emotional one. The text gives us the figures and the facts but it’s the illustrations that hit us the hardest. They show us what it was like to be on the scene, be among the confusion and destruction, it was the scenes that take place both above water and underwater that I truly adored them. It’s a powerful story, of human suffering, of individuals coming together, of a nation that made mistakes and hopefully learned from them and of hero’s that live in our own backyard. I remember being glued to my television when this was all unfolding, I couldn’t believe that this was happening and my heart broke for these people and reading this graphic novel, brought it all back to me. I can’t say enough about what a great job Don Brown did with this novel.
" said.

"Drowned City by Don Brown is an excellent graphic navel on Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, I was 20 years old living in Maryland and I remember the disaster, at least, the things shown on television. I think the Katrina Disaster was a mess and Brown does a great job explaining and illustrating the disaster. I like how Brown was unbiased towards the political leaders in charge. Brown did a good job avoiding personal opinion. He allows the reader to make their own judgement. I, especially, liked how he incorporated President Bush flying over the disaster, after a Texas vacation. I feel that said it all. No need to state the obvious. I remember many people being very upset when President Bush did not make an appearance at the disaster.

I feel this book is appropriate for any classroom. It works well with History, Science, Art, and InI (Innovations and Inventions). At the Historical stand point, this book works on multiple levels. In a non-apparent view it demonstrates the importance of voting for government officials that will protect the people. In detail, the book describes the storm and the mayhem it caused. As for Science, this book teaches about destruction a storm can cause. How the environment affects all of us. Not in the words alone, but the illustrations contribute to the message. The illustrations could easily be studied in Art. As for InI, the importance of building strong, sturdy structures are reinforced. The flood would have never happened had the levees not broke. InI students could potentially study structures to make them better.
" said.

"This outstanding graphic novel depiction of the events that occurred before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina focuses on New Orleans, much of which was under water after August 29, 2005. Relying on illustrations created with pen and ink and digital paint, the illustrator has somehow managed to thrust readers into the hectic events surrounding this natural disaster. Even the book jacket depicts skies filled with helicopters and the city's citizens looking for relief even while the back cover shows a diminutive Crescent City seemingly dwarfed by the rapidly-encroaching waters of Lake Ponchartrain. The story begins, appropriately enough, a handful of days before Katrina grows in strength, during the late days of August, and concludes as New Orleans continues to recover, now protected by expansive walls that rise to 26 feet in height. In between, the book features many elements that received much attention in the media as well as other, more private tragedies. While many novels have striven to capture what happened in New Orleans, this nonfiction account comes closes to getting everything right. It's all here: The men, women and children seemingly left behind when avenues of escape are denied. The family pets torn from the arms of their human companions. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coast Guard's heroic rescues of thousands of individuals. The long lines outside the Superdome and the Convention Center. The looting that occurred during the disaster, some by average citizens desperate for food and water but others by opportunistic citizens and law enforcement. A governor and a President seemingly at cross purposes and a mayor who seems to have disappeared. The wild rumors that filled the air. In this volume, Don Brown proves himself the master of the understatement as seen in this observation about the words of President George Bush: "Bush finds kind words for FEMA head Mike Brown...The President's praise confuses many Americans" (p. 83). This is an unforgettable, true story about failures, successes, mistakes, and politics, amid much confusion. It is told in an engaging fashion that will leave readers breathless from its pace. While the hurricane and its aftermath may have drowned much of New Orleans, Katrina failed to drown the irrepressible hope and resilience of its citizens. This story is very personal for me and many others, and I am thrilled to have it retold for a new generation of readers in this fashion. While it broke my heart again and sent my heart racing in anticipation of what was to come, this is a story that must not be repeated. The only way to prevent that is to learn from the mistakes made ten years ago. A plethora of references attests to the research conducted by this gifted chronicler of important moments in history. I score it a 4.5 simply because I wish there were even more pages in this account. " said.

"Drowned City Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans has left me feeling extremely saddened and with a taste of distrust. While I was familiar with Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused, I was not educated on the timeline of events and the steps that were taken in regards to the people of New Orleans during the evacuation process. To begin, it was unnerving to know that some people were unable to evacuate the city, because of age, poverty, or choice. Initially, I felt irritation thinking about those that were warned to leave and chose not to; I can’t fathom why anyone would take such a risk. It also was upsetting to envision those individuals that wanted to leave, but did not have the capacity to do so, and it makes me question whether or not steps could have been taken to get them to safety. This series of events that lasted over a span of a few days has left me feeling extremely uneasy, it has left me trying to piece together who is to blame, but I really can’t come up with an answer. I think about the people that were warned to leave, but chose not to, the city officials, the government, and FEMA. I can’t decipher who is the wrong doer. I know it is not right or necessary to put the blame on anyone; but I can’t seem to help it. I almost feel like I want to make sense of this tragedy by recognizing the faults of others that led to such devastation. I want to believe that we are able to learn from this tragedy to ensure that this never happens again, but the only way to do such a thing is to recognize where the faults lie. I can only hope that such a thing does not occur again, but if it does, that better choices are made for the good of the people. However, it is reassuring to know that such a city can be rebuilt and flourish with culture and beauty again. In 2011 I visited New Orleans for the first time. I fell in love with the architecture, history, and spirit that lived amongst the city streets. This city has been rebirthed and that is the true triumph. " said.

"Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans is an incredibly inventive way of broaching the subject of one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States in its history. Though a text based book could arguably convey more information, the graphic novel style format was able to display a sense of realism to the reader. This is particularly important for nonfiction texts like this to drive home the fact that these events did happen and the consequences were dire.
The amounts of detail that went into this book were incredible. It starts off with a detailed account of how the hurricane came to be, recounting is origins off the coasts of Africa and its journey all the way to the United States. The same kinds of details were used to account the chain of events that happened with both the local, state, and federal governments reactions to the event. A novel might have come across as dry and impersonal, but the illustrations helped give both life and a sense of continuity to the events that were accounted.
My favorite aspect of the story was fact that the comic illustrations gave a sense of realness to the story, but still distorted the horror and destruction of the event as to not completely mortify the reader. Drawings of the deceased were slightly more cartoonish and the faces were never revealed as to not make the images too graphic. The story itself was unsettling and disturbing so I appreciated the reservedness of some of the images. Imagination is hard to convey in graphic novels so I appreciated that some scenarios were left to the reader's imagination.
Possibly the most impressive aspect of the book, is the full two pages of small print resources listed at the end of the story. Don Brown really wanted to drive the point home the fact that these events, though depicted as a graphic novel, were indeed a part of real life and American history as we know it.
" said.

" Well told story that was poignant and included breath-taking art work. " said.

November 2017 New Book:

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