March 27, 2008

Book Review - Disaster

Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security
Christopher Cooper and Robert Block
HV 636 .G85 C66 2006

In this critical assessment of the events after Hurricane Katrina, Cooper and Block investigate the actions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Bush administration. By looking at the events chronologically, they discovered that facts were ignored, bad decisions were made, and numerous individuals who were aware of problems ignored them. The authors conclude that this disaster was mismanaged at all levels. Stepping back somewhat from the hurricane and response to it, Cooper and Block place this event into the context of American and world events occurring simultaneously. They assert that the Bush administration's singular focus on terrorist threats made it unprepared to effectively respond to a threat of another type, in this case, a natural disaster. They intend for this book, particularly its last several chapters, to be a wake-up call about how vulnerable the United States was and still remains to attacks of all sorts.