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Hardcover Category 5: The Story of Camille, Lessons Unlearned from America's Most Violent Hurricane Book

ISBN: 0472115251

ISBN13: 9780472115259

Category 5: The Story of Camille, Lessons Unlearned from America's Most Violent Hurricane

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

". . . the authors sound a pessimistic note about society's short-term memory in their sobering, able history of Camille" --Booklist "This highly readable account aimed at a general audience excels at telling the plight of the victims and how local political authorities reacted. The saddest lesson is how little the public and the government learned from Camille. Highly recommended for all public libraries, especially those on the Gulf and East coasts."--Library...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Category 5

"Category 5" is excellent reading. The plot, with many interesting facts, keeps the reader spellbound. It is difficult to stop reading once you start! Many long hours of research had to be done for this fact filled book. The racial feelings in Louisanna, corupt polititions, and the "state of the art" science of 1969, all combine to make this book all come together for one of the best books I have ever read!

36 Years Before Katrina

This book, the story of 1969's Hurricane Camille, is a breezy (yes, that word APPLIES) read which interweaves several plotlines -- the powerful force of a Cat 5 hurricane, the lives it touched and the tragedies which occurred, the will to survive, the peculiar and corrupt qualities of Louisiana politics, the ongoing civil rights movement of the time, and the surprisingly primitive nature of weather forecasting in the late 1960's. As a person who once moved out of a city in part due to the fact that the local cable company DIDN'T carry The Weather Channel, I expected to enjoy the stormy aspects of the book. I did not expect the history and politics of the time to carry this story down unexpected avenues. It was a pleasant surprise. I recommend it without hesitation.

A Must Read Thriller

The Zebrowski and Howard exposition of the Category 5 Hurricane Camille reads like a gripping novel, and--at times--has the intrigue of a murder mystery set in the rural South. Their portrayal of the human drama, relationships, and psychology of the protagonists, coupled with the immensely clear and accessible scientific explanations of the events, make it appealing to a wide audience. It's beautifully written; it's a must read.

"Category 5" Rates an "E" for Excellence!

"Category 5" by Ernest Zebrowski and Judith A. Howard is one of the most absorbing books I have read on any topic during several decades of avid reading. The writing style and organization are superb, and the book reads like a smash adventure/mystery novel as it describes the all too real fury of Hurricane Camille of 1969. The authors focus on the exciting (and often tragic) stories of individual people fighting for survival during Camille's onslaught. You can feel the water sloshing over you as you try to stay afloat on a small piece of what used to be your house, while brushing poisonous snakes off you as they compete for anything that will float. You feel the helpless rage of competent local officials in the aftermath of Camille as they encounter the stupidity of "outsiders" from the Federal Government. You smell the sweat and fear, see the pain and frustration, and taste the admixture of bravery and cowardice, brilliance and silliness, that always mark human behavior when a natural disaster strikes. And, although "Category 5" was not written with Katrina in mind, you cannot help but see some startling parallels bewteen these two Evil Sisters, and to wonder whether we ever will learn and remember the proper lessons from natural disasters. The nature, behavior, and effects of hurricanes are mysteries to most people, and it is natural to wonder how and why they do what they do. The authors recognize this curiosity, and provide some very clear explanations of how natural forces act to form and direct hurricanes and cause them to inflict immense damage. As I read these easily visualized explanations, I found myself saying "OK, now I see what a storm surge really is and how it forms", and "WHAT? I never would have believed a large river could flow backwards, but now I see how that can - and did - happen during Camille", and "Wow, now I understand why floodwaters are a lot more damaging than I had supposed!", and "Gee, no wonder Katrina was much easier to track than Camille, those guys in 1969 had to do a lot of 'guessing' with the primitive technology of that time". The science is presented smoothly and clearly, and there is no dreaded math to make the reader scratch his/her head and let loose an expletive or two. Very early in the book we read a fascinating discussion of a "Southern Gentleman(?)" named Leander Perez as he applies, probably unknowingly, the principles of Machiavelli to become the political dictator of Plaquemine Parish in Louisiana. At first I wondered what this "historical political excursion" had to do with Camille, but I quickly realized that Zebrowski and Howard are giving us a fascinating, and disturbing, glimpse into Old Time Politics and its effect on the response to a natural disaster. (Does the reader need to ask how this becomes pertinent to the 2005 Katrina catastrophe?) The authors brilliantly weave together the complex interactions of numerous individuals and organizations, good, bad, or indifferent, to produce a

A Repeat of Weather History

"Category 5" by Ernest Zebrowski and Judith A. Howard looks at the greatest storm to strike the Gulf Coast of the United States. No, this is not a rushed book to chronicle the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, but the eerily similar story of Hurricane Camille, which also struck near the mouth of the Mississippi River in August 1969. The authors subtitled their book "Lessons Unlearned from America's Most Violent Hurricane" for now too obvious reasons. Hurricane Camille struck the Gulf Coast as an acknowledged Category 5 hurricane. Its winds reached nearly 200 mile per hour winds and pushed a 28-foot storm surge onto Pass Christian and Biloxi, Mississippi. Camille's track before and after landfall was quite different from Katrina's; however, both storms struck the Louisiana-Mississippi coast around the mouth of the Great River. Whereas Katrina's big story was the resultant flooding of New Orleans, Camille struck the region with an incredible storm surge and then moved on to dump massive rains across Virginia. Authors Zebrowski and Howard not only tell the tale of the storm and its fury but weave the story within the context of the local history of storms, politics, state's rights and, at the time, civil rights battles. Like Katrina, Camille had an understory of particularly hard impacts on the poor. The authors focus their coverage on the plights of a few individuals and families whose stories enhance and typify the human disaster unfolding in the three hard hit regions. The story also relates the civil defence efforts to evacuate residents in the storm's path. The book's greatest value is the placing of the events into a view of how America responded and should respond to natural disasters. Zebrowski and Howard discuss what should have been learned from the storm, lessons that should stand out in "bold type" and "red pen" given the experiences of Katrina. It is of note that this book was scheduled for a much later release, but it publication was pushed forward in response to the Katrina disaster. Despite the short time frame, the book does include references and comments on Katrina's impact with regard to Camille, though the authors have been wise to purposely limit their analysis of the Katrina response. I found this book a very well-written and balanced account of the storm and the circumstances surrounding it. In my view, it provides a good example of what the genre of natural disaster books should be. I think this arises from the fact that the authors have strong credentials in areas other than history. Ernest Zebrowski, PhD, a former professor, authored "Perils of a Restless Planet: Scientific Perspectives on Natural Disasters". Judith Howard holds a PhD in clinical social work from UCLA with further training in disaster psychology, and currently is a clinical social worker with a psychotherapy practice in Ruston, Louisiana. I place "Category 5: The Story of Camille, Lessons Unlearned from America's Most Violent Hurricane" on my must read li
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