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Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans (09 Edition)

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Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans (09 Edition) Cover

ISBN13: 9780385523196
ISBN10: 038552319x
Condition: Student Owned
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Publisher Comments:

The hidden history of a haunted and beloved city told through the intersecting lives of nine remarkable characters

After Hurricane Katrina, Dan Baum moved to New Orleans to write about the citys response to the disaster for The New Yorker. He quickly realized that Katrina was not the most interesting thing about New Orleans, not by a long shot. The most interesting question, which struck him as he watched residents struggling to return, was this: Why are New Orleanians—along with people from all over the world who continue to flock there—so devoted to a place that was, even before the storm, the most corrupt, impoverished, and violent corner of America?

Heres the answer. Nine Lives is a multivoiced biography of this dazzling, surreal, and imperiled city through the lives of nine characters over forty years and bracketed by two epic storms: Hurricane Betsy, which transformed the city in the 1960s, and Katrina, which nearly destroyed it. These nine lives are windows into every strata of one of the most complex and fascinating cities in the world. From outsider artists and Mardi Gras Kings to jazz-playing coroners and transsexual barkeeps, these lives are possible only in New Orleans, but the city that nurtures them is also, from the beginning, a city haunted by the possibility of disaster. All their stories converge in the storm, where some characters rise to acts of heroism and others sink to the bottom. But it is New Orleans herself—perpetually whistling past the grave yard—that is the storys real heroine.

Nine Lives is narrated from the points of view of some of New Orleanss most charismatic characters, but underpinning the voices of the city is an extraordinary feat of reporting that allows Baum to bring this kaleidoscopic portrait to life with brilliant color and crystalline detail. Readers will find themselves wrapped up in each of these individual dramas and delightfully immersed in the life of one of this countrys last unique places, even as its ultimate devastation looms ever closer. By resurrecting this beautiful and tragic place and portraying the extraordinary lives that could have taken root only there, Nine Lives shows us what was lost in the storm and what remains to be saved.

DAN BAUM is a former staff writer for The New Yorker, and has written for numerous other magazines and newspapers. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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About the Author

DAN BAUM is a former staff writer for The New Yorker, and has written for numerous other magazines and newspapers. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

bookbag2k, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by bookbag2k)
I loved this book! I've been to NOLA twice, mostly just the touristy parts, but it's not like any other American city that I've visited. This book reflects its uniqueness and the uniqueness (and fortitude) of its inhabitants. It read like a novel (and I mean that in a good way). Katrina was such a devastating storm, and showed such an ugly side of our country in the government's (mis-) handling of the aftermath, but this book puts a human face (nine faces, actually) on the tragedy. I was left with a feeling of hope because of the amazing love and loyalty that the citizens have for their city.
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fehu_berkana, June 11, 2009 (view all comments by fehu_berkana)
Nine Lives is a pure pleasure to read. The smoothly flowing, deeply textured prose that leads you through the people's lives and some of the history of the city brings it all to life in your mind's eye.

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Chris Horne, February 26, 2009 (view all comments by Chris Horne)
I've been looking forward to Nine Lives since I happened to catch a news special that Dan Baum was on after the tragedy in New Orleans a few years ago. He said he was working on a book about NOLA residents after Katrina.... But it is so much more! The book is a cultural history, starting in 1965 and relating different aspects of the city through people of all different backgrounds and social strata. Baum manages to work in so many rich details and observations on what makes the city unique--language, the nuances of the Mardi Gras and Indian traditions, little asides about the food.
As a result, you don't get to Katrina and its aftermath until well into the book--before that, you see how the city slid into a depression when the ports scaled back jobs, and when crack flooded the streets. It makes the hurricane that much more devastating.
This is a beautifully written book, completely engrossing. If you're from NOLA, have ever visited there, or are even thinking about visiting there, read this book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385523196
Subtitle:
Death and Life in New Orleans
Author:
Baum, Dan
Publisher:
Spiegel & Grau
Subject:
City and town life
Subject:
Interviews
Subject:
General
Subject:
Regional Subjects - South
Subject:
New Orleans (La.)
Subject:
New Orleans (La.) Social conditions.
Publication Date:
20090210
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.7 x 6.6 x 1.3 in 1.35 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Louisiana
History and Social Science » Americana » New Orleans
History and Social Science » Americana » Southern States

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