We expect to be gripped by books of fiction. We expect that they will leave us sitting at the edge of our chair, biting our nails, gripped by suspense. We hav to not expect this same degree of intensity in non-fiction books. But, non the less, there are exceptions. Consider for example this account of what transpired when Hurricane Katrina, the deadliest US hurricane, struck the Louisiana coast on August 29, 2005.
"Five Days at Memorial" is the story of a New Orleans hospital that lay in its destructive path.The hospital’s municipal power supply failed forcing it to rely on backup generation. It too failed after a short period of time leaving hospital without light; without air conditioning; without elevators; without the electricity need to power a myriad of electrical equipment required to keep seriously ill patients alive. Streets were flooded so evacuation by ambulance was out of the question. Evacuation by helicopter was botched and bungled. The evening air was punctuated with the sound of gunfire --- the fear of looters was endemic among the hospitals staff. All of a sudden, an American hospital had been plunged into the third world.There is, of course, much more to the book that. Why was the hospital not better prepared than it was. Had the nurses and doctors been better prepared. Were good decisions made? Of course great effort was made to dish out blame for what had gone wrong that August and September in New Orleans.