Lost in Katrina

Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.
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 "Lost in Katrina is powerful! It is the human experience during the worst storm in America's history. Mike Schaefer has captured the stories of those who not only miraculously survived, but went on to become heroes."

--Angela Hill, WWL-TV anchor, New Orleans

"Mike Schaefer listens. And because he listens so well, we get to hear the real stories of Katrina and St. Bernard Parish. I've seen the aftermath there with my own eyes and thought what must it have been like when the storm hit, when the floods came? Now we know. And what a story."
--Harry Smith, CBS News

"When friends ask me what Katrina was really like, this is the book I'll recommend to them. The individual stories Mike tells, of survival and loss, desperation and heroism, perfectly capture the unreal chaos that was Katrina. Even if, like I did, you think you know all about the storm and its aftermath, you'll find something new, and, no doubt, inspiring, in this book."
--Tracy Smith, CBS News correspondent

This book offers insightful, emotional accounts of life before, during, and immediately after Hurricane Katrina in a parish that seemingly disappeared from the government's sight. While President Bush was shaking hands with FEMA director Michael Browne ("Brownie," as he will long be remembered) on the fourth day after the storm, St. Bernard Parish was struggling to salvage what they could.

As the rest of the world watched the worst of humanity emerge on television, ordinary people did extraordinary things to save the parish that found itself almost completely submerged in floodwater. Heart-wrenching stories of the human will to survive offer an inside perspective on what it means to be a survivor of Hurricane Katrina.

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About the author

 Mikel Schaefer moved to St. Bernard Parish when he was ten years old and spent his formative years there with the values, culture, and passion for life found in St. Bernard. The inspiration to write Lost in Katrina came from a desire to share with the public the loss and destruction that devastated the little-known parish. When Schaefer began the collection of interviews and personal accounts for his book, he realized that the men and women of St. Bernard were not just victims but heroes in the wake of the storm. After graduating from Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish, Schaefer studied journalism at the University of New Orleans where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in communications. After graduating, Schaefer worked as a sports producer and an assignment editor at WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in the Greater New Orleans Area. In the aftermath of the storm, Schaefer was awarded the Peabody award and the Columbia Dupont and National Edward R. Murrow awards for his efforts in covering Hurricane Katrina. Having worked as a journalist in the New Orleans area for over twenty years, Schaefer is deeply passionate about his region and preserving the culture Katrina nearly destroyed. Schaefer lives in Metairie, Louisiana, and works as an executive producer of WWL-TV.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.
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Published on
Sep 23, 2010
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781455607679
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
Nature / Natural Disasters
Social Science / Disasters & Disaster Relief
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The true story behind the events that inspired the major motion picture Only the Brave.

A "unique and bracing" (Booklist) first-person account by the sole survivor of Arizona's disastrous 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, which took the lives of 19 "hotshots"--firefighters trained specifically to battle wildfires.

Brendan McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when he, for the sake of his young daughter, decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their leader, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the unit, and perhaps seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough, and the chance paid off. Despite the crew's skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marsh's firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.

Then, on June 30, 2013, while McDonough--"Donut" as he'd been dubbed by his team--served as lookout, they confronted a freak, 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks.

Granite Mountain is a gripping memoir that traces McDonough's story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very men who had saved him. A harrowing and redemptive tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, Granite Mountain is also a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm's way to protect us every day.
It lurks in the corner of our imagination, almost beyond our ability to see it: the possibility that a tear in the fabric of life could open up without warning, upending a house, a skyscraper, or a civilization.

Today, nine out of ten Americans live in places at significant risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorism, or other disasters. Tomorrow, some of us will have to make split-second choices to save ourselves and our families. How will we react? What will it feel like? Will we be heroes or victims? Will our upbringing, our gender, our personality–anything we’ve ever learned, thought, or dreamed of–ultimately matter?
    
Amanda Ripley, an award-winning journalist for Time magazine who has covered some of the most devastating disasters of our age, set out to discover what lies beyond fear and speculation. In this magnificent work of investigative journalism, Ripley retraces the human response to some of history’s epic disasters, from the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917–one of the biggest explosions before the invention of the atomic bomb–to a plane crash in England in 1985 that mystified investigators for years, to the journeys of the 15,000 people who found their way out of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Then, to understand the science behind the stories, Ripley turns to leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts, formal and informal, from a Holocaust survivor who studies heroism to a master gunfighter who learned to overcome the effects of extreme fear.

Finally, Ripley steps into the dark corners of her own imagination, having her brain examined by military researchers and experiencing through realistic simulations what it might be like to survive a plane crash into the ocean or to escape a raging fire.
    
Ripley comes back with precious wisdom about the surprising humanity of crowds, the elegance of the brain’s fear circuits, and the stunning inadequacy of many of our evolutionary responses. Most unexpectedly, she discovers the brain’s ability to do much, much better, with just a little help.

The Unthinkable escorts us into the bleakest regions of our nightmares, flicks on a flashlight, and takes a steady look around. Then it leads us home, smarter and stronger than we were before.


From the Hardcover edition.
The true story of an incredible disaster and heroic rescue at sea told by two masterful storytellers.

In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.

In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.

The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.

The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes that sear themselves into the mind's eye, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in their terrifying battle for survival.

Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it's a miracle—and a testament to their bravery—that any came home to tell their tales at all.

Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman have seamlessly woven together their extensive research and firsthand interviews to create an unforgettable tale of heroism, triumph, and tragedy, one that truly tells of the Coast Guard's finest hours.
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