There are nonfiction authors who spend years researching a subject and want all their research to be known, and so they dump it all in. Consequently, you, the reader, feel the weight of that, both on your head and on your time. Then there are nonfiction authors who have spent years researching a subject but have the rare gift of melting their research so smoothly into the prose that you learn everything you can possibly learn about their subject without it feeling like your most despised chore.
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sheri Fink sets up permanent residence in the latter camp, taking six years of research and investigation into the events that took place at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and sculpting it into Five Days at Memorial, a narrative that keeps her Pulitzer Prize shining brightly and should put her in line to win another...
Beyond the Book
Though Hurricane Katrina did strike a mighty blow, it was only part of the catastrophe that befell New Orleans. As Sheri Fink writes in Five Days at Memorial
, "Katrina rapidly lost strength after moving onto land. The rain lessened and the winds began to ease by late morning. The water level outside Memorial stabilized at about three feet."
During the squalls of the hurricane on Monday August 29, 2005, water raced down Clara Street (Memorial's location) and "a red car and a red van were submerged to the tops of their wheel wells," but the hospital seemed free from disaster. Then a...