Douglas Brinkley on Hurricane Katrina

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In a sweeping study released last week on Hurricane Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers accepted responsibility for a weak and incomplete hurricane protection system.

But according to Big Easy historian Douglas Brinkley, that only partly explains why Katrina decimated much of the Gulf coast, flooded more than 80 percent of New Orleans and killed more than a thousand people.

In his new book, Brinkley chronicles the stunning failures in political leadership — from the White House to the office of Mayor Ray Nagin, who Brinkley describes as the city's pathetic skipper who didn't know what a boom was.

Brinkley also tells stories about the heroism of normal people as they battled the storm of the century that destroyed their city and coast, but not their courage.

Hear a conversation with Douglas Brinkley about the history of what he calls "The Great Deluge."


Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History and Director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University and author of "The Great Deluge."

This program aired on June 9, 2006.


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