Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Great Deluge


I see Eggers makes a reference to The Great Deluge in his endnotes.  I have a copy sitting on my shelves which I bought soon after it came out, but haven't gotten around to reading.  However, after reading this salon review I'm not sure I want to wade into it.  The New York Times provides a more favorable review.  Perhaps, as Barra noted in his review, because Brinkley fawned over the media's coverage of the event, noting the NY Times among other publications as having given the disaster the attention it warranted.  Anyway, will open it up and take a look inside.

I also have Spike Lee's account of events, When the Levees Broke, which I will sit down and watch at some point.

9 comments:

  1. I was surprised how quickly Brinkley got this book out. As the salon reviewer noted, it seems Brinkley wanted to establish himself as the Katrina historian. I suppose his being a professor at Tulane gave him a great sense of urgency, but there also seemed to be a strong bit of marketing going on here.

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  2. And you expected something different after the TR book? The guy seems to be all over the place.

    I know I shouldn't be so unkind knowing how hard these books are to write, but it seems like he got the bug from Stephen Ambrose and tried to follow in his footsteps. But Ambrose brought an extra dimension to his work that Brinkley doesn't seem to have -- although he has all the research assistants a writer could ever wish for.

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  3. Actually, he wrote the book before his TR book. I bought it largely because of the fine study Brinkley did of Carter in The Unfinished Presidency. He seems to have a good grasp of contemporary events.

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  4. Good evening. At the advice of my doctor I took a week off to relax, but now I'm back. It feels good to be normal again--I had a quarter pounder today--the first in a long time. I also saw the post on Douglas Brinkley--I have his Carter book, but never read it--I'm reading FLIGHT FROM MONTICELLO rigt now and think I'll tackle WILDERNESS WARRIOR by Brinkley next--in anticipation of THE COLONEL in November. WILDERNESS WARRIOR is 800+ pages--a two-weeker for me. I haven't read much of Brinkley, so this will be a good test.

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  5. Why don't you search this blog for some of avrds' comments on Brinkley. Verrra interestin'

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  6. Robert, I would skip Wilderness Warrior and go to his book on Carter, The Unfinished Presidency, which I thought was pretty good. Wilderness Warrior is a like a 30-mile hike through the mud.

    You can click on The Wilderness Warrior under Reading Group for comments.

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  7. I started"Traitor to His Class" about FDR and I am enjoying it so far except for two things.One is the print is a bit small and at 616 pages of text I would have liked a bit larger print and maybe 50 more pages as a result.The thing that really irks me is they ran the print to the very edge of the page which means I really have to press down on the left hand side to see the text at the edge.

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  8. "...like a 30-mile hike through the mud."

    I could have used that one in my review!

    There's a lot to learn about TR in the book, but it is definitely a chore to learn it. This is one of those instances where sheer volume of pages does not conceal the lack of insight or even real knowledge. It's just lots of "stuff."

    Bo, you'll have to post your thoughts about Traitor. I once saw an interview with Brands -- he appears to have WAY too much energy and goes on and on, which is sort of like his writing. If you are reading a paperback, maybe try to get a hard copy version?

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  9. I just read that Salon review of the Great Deluge. I think the reviewer gets him perfectly: "I'd like to thank ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, NPR, etc. etc. etc."

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