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Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana - on August 29, 2005 - journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm's immediate damage, the city of New Orleans's efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm's lasting effects not just on the city's geography and infrastructure - but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation's great cities.Much of New Orleans still sat under water the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina. Then a staff reporter for The New York Times, he was heading into the city to survey the damage. The Interstate was eerily empty. Soldiers in uniform and armed with assault rifles stopped him. Water reached the eaves of houses for as far as the eye could see. Four out of every five houses - eighty percent of the city's housing stock - had been flooded.

About the Author

Gary Rivlin

I'll confess that in high school I was the type more likely to read the Cliff Notes than the assigned work. I was going to be an engineer; who cared about books? But for a requirement in college I took a literature course and I've been grateful ever since. I joke that I'm a self-taught reader, having pretty much started at age 19.

Politics and social issues propelled me into journalism. I felt like I had something to say so I started to write. In college I always enjoyed reading a great alternative weekly, the Chicago Reader. I began contributing to the Reader and eventually earned a staff job there writing about Chicago politics. That led to my first book, Fire on the Prairie, in which I tell the story of race politics at work in every big city by telling the tale of Chicago during the 1980s, a particularly brutal racial time in that city's history.

Youth violence was the subject of my second book, Drive-By. In that work, I introduce readers to the range of characters and issues at work in a single drive-by shooting that left a 13-year-old dead and put three teenagers in prison for murder. With my third book, The Plot to Get Bill Gates, I returned to my early tech roots.

I left the book world for about a decade. I started writing for a range of magazines, from Wired to the New York Times Magazine to GQ. At the start of 2004, I took a staff position with The New York Times. As terrific experience as that was, I'm very happy to be returning to books and talking about my latest work, BROKE, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. - How the Working Poor Became Big Business.

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