Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms
Katrina was the signal event of the new century, a body blow to the national self-image. Scenes Americans expect to see in far-off, ungovernable countries have now unfolded in the mightiest nation on earth: victims struggling to survive amid depravity and death, an entire city reduced to an empty shell, a diaspora of refugees unseen since the days of the Dust Bowl.
Even as rebuilding gets underway, a sense of shock and confusion lingers. Indeed, sensationalism and political finger-pointing have made it nearly impossible to distinguish the truth from the spin. But now, John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein cut through the confusion to offer a clear explanation for the greatest natural disaster in American history.
PATH OF DESTRUCTION isn’t just a book about the storm, those who survived, and those who didn’t; it’s also an account into the dreadful inadequacies that existed prior to 2005, an indictment of the Washingtonofficials who failed to act, and a scientific investigation into why these huge storms are coming now.
Brilliantly written and fiercely reported, PATH OF DESTRUCTION is necessary reading for all who wish to understand the past, present, and future of American natural disasters.
John McQuaid is based in Washington, D.C. and does investigative and explanatory journalism, specializing in science and politics. In his 22-year-career, most of it with The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, he has covered presidential campaigns and Congress; Latin America (as a correspondent based in Mexico City); and done a number of investigative projects. His work has won many national awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1997 (along with “Path” co-author Mark Schleifstein)for a series on the global fisheries crisis.
Mark Schleifstein, co-author with John McQuaid of “Path of Destruction”, has worked at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans since 1984. His reporting during and after Hurricane Katrina was among the newspaper’s stories honored with 2006 Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service and Breaking News Reporting and the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting. Stories by Schleifstein and McQuaid prior to Katrina on hurricanes and coastal science issues were honored in 2006 with a special award from the American Geophysical Union. The 2002 series co-authored by Schleifstein and McQuaid,”Washing Away: How south Louisiana is growing more vulnerable to a catastrophic hurricane,” won the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2003 Excellence in Media award and the 2003 National Hurricane Conference media award. It also was a finalist for the 2003 Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting for newspapers with over 100,000 circulation. Schleifstein and McQuaid also were co-authors of the 1996 series, “Oceans of Trouble: Are the World’s Fisheries Doomed?” which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service from the Society of Professional Journalists.