After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans became ground zero for the reinvention of the American city, with urban planners, movie stars, anarchists, and politicians all advancing their competing visions of recovery. In this wash of reform, residents and volunteers from across the country struggled to build the foundations of a new New Orleans.
For over five years, author Daniel Wolff has documented an amazing cross section of the city in upheaval: a born-again preacher with a ministry of ex-addicts, a former Black Panther organizing for a new cause, a single mother, "broke as a joke" in a FEMA trailer. The Fight for Home chronicles their battle to survive not just the floods, but the corruption that continues and the base-level emergency of poverty and neglect.
From ruin to limbo to triumphant return, Wolff offers an intimate look at the lives of everyday American heroes. A s these lives play out against the ruined local landscape and an emerging national recession, The Fight for Home becomes a story of resilience and hope.
"Achingly poignant . . . A powerful message about human will."—Chicago Tribune
"Richly reported."—The New York Times
"One of the finest histories of Hurricane Katrina to date."—Reason
"The Fight for Home tenaciously and colorfully, like the survivors themselves, exposes the initial trauma and despair, and the subsequent anger, frustration, joy and exaltation of their plight. This is a historic document . . . powerful and revelatory."—The Christian Science Monitor
"[Wolff] demonstrates the extraordinary capabilities of ordinary folk who, out of necessity, relegated their bloated, out-of-touch government to a supporting role and brought their city back to life."—The Wall Street Journal
"Wolff covers the facts, the politics, the need-to-know information and context of the catastrophe . . . But this book's essential charm—and there's plenty of it—lies in the voices, the strong characters that Wolff translates incandescently onto the page."—The Times-Picayune
"The Fight for Home is not just a story about the distinct character of New Orleans; it speaks to the character of our nation. Daniel Wolff shows how the people who rebuilt New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, like the people who rebuilt Chicago after our Great Fire, would not be defined by tragedy, but by their great fortitude and triumph."—Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago
"In reality, cities and people rarely 'bounce back' from a heavy blow. The Fight for Home is an outstanding book about not just New Orleans, but that reality. A comeback requires grit, persistence, will, and hard work—enormously hard work—and people have to fight for it themselves. This book demonstrates all that."—John M. Barry, author of Rising Tide and Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul
"The Fight for Home is a moving testimony to the courage and resilience of a great American city."—Tavis Smiley, broadcaster, author, and philanthropist
"[The Fight for Home] communicates the smells of decay, the depth of desperation and the powerful frustrations of people who feel abandoned in their land. [Wolff] . . . allows the stories of these blasted lives and sturdy souls to transmit his powerful message."—Kirkus Reviews
"Wolff details the history of New Orleans, from the Civil War to its more modern period of urbane decline, exploring the factors that contributed to a population decline even before Katrina hit."—Booklist
"The destruction left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is only the starting point for the social drama that unfolds in Wolff's grassroots-oriented investigation of the rebuilding of New Orleans' most underprivileged and underrepresented neighborhoods . . . Wolff's impressive research utilizes dozens of interviews with community members and organizers collected over five years . . . [His] reportage concentrates on the empowering, if also difficult, coordination across regional, racial, and class lines to provide basic aid and services . . . as well as a serious bid among such individuals and organizations to realize a future in which diversity and solidarity are the strength of a city and a society."—Publishers Weekly