You do want to help though. You do want to pack it up, go down to New Orleans, and do the job for the government. Unfortunately, work, children, lack of transportation, and an ill-prepared goveernment are the things standing in your way.
Disaster takes an honest, matter-of-fact, in-depth look at FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and their delayed response. Cooper and Block point out that many of the problems stem from the shift in focus in 2001 on the threat of terrorism. As FEMA became less prominent compared to agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, funding was cut, as were many of the authoritative freedoms that FEMA originally had prior to 9/11.
The bigger picture, according to Cooper and Block, is one in which higher-up government officials, including the White House, failed to act. As a result, FEMA was stuck in a virtual hodgepodge of red tape that left them unable to adequately respond to the disaster.
Was Michael Brown, head of FEMA at the time, a scapegoat? That is ultimately a matter of opinion. According to Cooper and Block FEMA, and all the FEMA employees, can and should be held responsible for their actions or lack thereof. However, the failure of FEMA should also be taken out on those who have prevented FEMA from doing their jobs properly including higher up government officials in the White House.
I found Disaster to be interesting and well written. I was compelled to read more and must admit I was a bit horrified by what I was reading. Cooper and Block have constructed a solid, well-researched, and well-presented novel. While some, who may not be politically driven, may find the material too dry for their tastes, they should try to read this book anyhow. They will learn something from it.
Disaster, Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security is a book that simply cannot be ignored. Every American should read it.
Where will you be when the next Katrina hits? Hopefully, the disaster will not be in your backyard next time, and if it is… all we can do is hope that all the kinks in the government emergency response system have been ironed out.