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Book Reviews of Zeitoun

Author: Dave Eggers
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ISBN-13: 9780307387943
ISBN-10: 0307387941
Publication Date: 6/8/2010
Pages: 337
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 111 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

20 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

JoyReadsLots avatar reviewed Zeitoun on + 51 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I had to read this for book club and to be honest I put it off for quite a while. I am not usually a reader of the 'true story/memoir' genre. But I have to say that from the moment I finally started this book, I was pulled in and couldn't hardly put it down. Great story, well written in a style to keep me engaged. Definitely a story that "makes you think". I agree to some degree with some of the folks in my book group who said that you only saw one side - the good side - of the key characters, but I think that is minor when compared to the story as a whole.
NYbooks avatar reviewed Zeitoun on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
* * *. Biography. A contractor/property owner living in New Orleans underestimates the forecast predictions regarding Hurricane Katrina and decides to stay behind and weather the storm. His decision has good and bad results as he becomes an important player in other people's lives, but is unable to protect himself from the ensuing chaos and confusion.

A definite page-turner. Eggers vividly describes the haunting silence that followed the storm and is also able to relay the man's disbeliefs, struggles and experiences trying to overcome unfortunate mislabelings.
bellasgranny avatar reviewed Zeitoun on + 468 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Absolutely wonderful and horrific at the same time. Beautifully written and masterfully narrated, the story of Zeitoun, his family and Hurricane Katrina will stay with me for a very long time. Hard to accept that Americans behaved in the manner that they did in the aftermath of the hurricane. Please don't miss reading or listening to Dave Eggers' exceptional work. Very highly reccomend.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 412 more book reviews
Another great piece of non-fiction by Dave Eggers, this time delving into the horrors of Hurricane Katrina by relating the story of one family's experience. Deeply disturbing.
reviewed Zeitoun on
This book adds a different perspective to the Katrina Experience and even though I know someone who was in New Orleans through the storm, I'll never get all the info out of them.
mico avatar reviewed Zeitoun on
Great book. Gives you a different perspective as to what really happened after Katrina. Everyone should read this.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 628 more book reviews
"A true story of one family, caught between America's 2 biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the
response to Hurricane Katrina", to steal a quote from the back book cover." A great book for those of us who weren't there to read and absorb just one of the personal stories of the disaster. Brutal, honest, frustrating, infuriating, but also inspirational.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 1436 more book reviews
This is an incredible read about what a family encounters following the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Zeitoun is a Syrian by birth who claimed the U.S. for his country and settles here with his lovely American wife, Kathy. A successful businessman who works hard he stays behind as the hurricane pounds the city. When he is arrested and lands in jail but doesn't know why. What he and his family endure as a result of this incident is unbelievable. Who knew that FEMA could take control of everything in one's life during such a catastrophe? Police, judicial, personal rights, freedom of speech all go by the wayside. When the arresting group decides that Zeitoun and the three men with him are guilty of "something" they have no rights and are imprisoned and treated to inhumane conditions for weeks and months.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 57 more book reviews
This was a very disturbing book to read. Much has been written and related about the inhumane treatment of the remaining population in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina and the levy failures. This narrative takes you through one family's terrible adventure of a society breaking down when solidarity was so much needed. It is interesting , heartbreaking and downright scarry that the things that happened could be allowed to happen here in America. Not only that they happened, but this that those who perpetrated them are just let to go on their merry way with no punishment. More people should read this book to prepare for such things to happen again, because without punishment they definitely will. There is no doubt.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 20 more book reviews
This story is mesmerizing. The city and the characters draw you in unil you cannot put it down. The second half of the book is really compelling. I was not blown away by the beauty of the writing, or the complexity of the sentences, but the overall effect lingers after the book is finished.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 17 more book reviews
I enjoyed the theme of helping New Orleans in its awful time of need. Mr. Zeitoun did wonderful things to help out. The book reads well and keeps your attention. Without giving away the ending, I found the book became a little trite and overstated toward the end. Still a good non-fiction read, and the overall reality of Mr. Zeitoun's situation is just plain totally incredible.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 19 more book reviews
This book made an historic event personal. Very well-written and engrossing.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 3 more book reviews
A profound look at our own countries mind-set post 9/11 and during one of the most horrific floods in American history. One mans journey through this period in time.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 105 more book reviews
Before I read this book I heard some things about it, was advised to read it critically, not believe everything. Even so, as I read it I became completely absorbed by the story and had difficulty figuring out what I shouldn't believe. The story is about a man who goes by his last name, Zeitoun, who stayed in New Orleans through Hurricane Katrina, helping others, and who was detained in temporary cells for reasons that were unclear. The story emphasizes the problems with the post-9/11 security system that was in place at that time. According to Eggers, the incidents that could be cross-checked were; he made a great effort to verify what he could. He also, I learned later, sent copies of the text to the Zeitouns for comment and corrections. Here is where the story may have been edited to portray Zeitoun as a simple, caring, dedicated family man.

But let's start with the story. When Katrina was off-shore and appeared to be threatening New Orleans, Zeitoun encouraged his wife to take their children up north to stay with relatives, while he stayed in New Orleans, helping his customers (he is a painting contractor who also does repair and remodeling work) fortify their homes. Like many in the city, he didn't think Katrina would do any more damage than any other storm he had weathered. When his neighborhood started to flood, however, he found a rowboat and set out, initially to check on his properties. It was during these forays that he came across various persons stranded, as well as some dogs. He helped those that he could, discovering in the process that many of those who were brought into the city to deal with the disaster were security forces, not actually rescuers.

The story of Zeitoun's experiences are alternated with the story of his wife's. It reads like a tale of a loving couple, for the most part. However, the fact that Zeitoun continually found reason to stay in NO while his wife was coping with difficulties in another city suggests that their relationship may not have been all that loving.

The story brought back to me memories of that hurricane and its aftermath. The whole of this country seemed to be glued to television as report after report showed how badly the disaster was handled at a federal level, including the use of the military to "keep peace". Zeitoun's story jibes well with what I know of that time. How he actually behaved during this time is, of course, not fully known.

What has come out since the publication of this book is that Zeitoun has been charged with attempting to murder his wife, and his wife has admitted that their troubles started long before Katrina. None of this invalidates the story here, except for what Zeitoun and his wife may have thought or said. And, of course, the impression that he is a good man might be questionable.

Worth reading anyway, I think. It's quick and easy to read, written in a simple, unadorned reportorial style. A library of Katrina books is developing, and this one certainly belongs there.
krissyj8 avatar reviewed Zeitoun on + 22 more book reviews
Hurricane Katrina captivated America for years and still does to this day. It created so many problems in the public and private arena. After years of hearing horrible stories of devastation it was hard not to become numb to the pain. I thought this book was really interesting because it followed one families unbelievable experience throughout this disaster. Many sections of this book were incomprehensible to me. This novel tackles Katrina, disaster relief, the war on terror, the government, and the way one family struggled to get over all of these hurdles. The strength of the family bond was exceptional through the turmoil. I also appreciated that the novel did not focus on blaming the individuals or the government it allowed the reader to make their own decisions. Overall I thought this novel was well written and heavy but a good read.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 10 more book reviews
The story amazed me, feel like I slept thru that part of Katrina when it happened. Dave Eggers writing is superb for this type of genre.
PatchesMom avatar reviewed Zeitoun on + 91 more book reviews
Excellent book!! Eggers did Katrina survivors and those who suffered thru it justice. It's sad, indeed infuriating, that New Orleans police acted so irresponsibly towards people who aren't part of N.O.'s criminal class. My sympathies go out to the Zeitoun family. Zeitoun is a good man. This country needs a lot more good family men like Zeitoun. I hope his family again prospers as they had before Katrina.
BigGreenChair avatar reviewed Zeitoun on + 453 more book reviews
It was very interesting to read as it covered things I had never heard about prior to this. Kind of scary to read about what happens when things fall apart due to a disaster in America. Certainly not what I expected.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 267 more book reviews
Whatever this book will do, it will not leave you unmoved. The injustice and cruelty dealt to an innocent family by the bias of the times was hard to believe. They were denied the very basics of human rights based purely on nationality. The ignorance of the authorities was astounding, even for such a chaotic time in history. It was an eye opener. D.
reviewed Zeitoun on + 14 more book reviews
this book is a great read. i recommend it highly.
diana munzer