On my bookshelf

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital Five Days At Memorial- Final Jacket.JPGby Sheri Fink

From Amazon.com: Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina – and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice. In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amid chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing. In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better. A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.

Heartbreaking. This book is engrossing and excellent, but – ultimately – heartbreaking.

Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend by Paul SchneiderBonnieAndClyde-2.book large teaser

From Amazon.com: The flesh-and-blood story of the outlaw lovers who robbed banks and shot their way across Depression-era America, based on extensive archival research, declassified FBI documents, and interviews. The daring movie revolutionized Hollywood—now the true story of Bonnie and Clyde is told in the lovers’ own voices, with verisimilitude and drama to match Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Strictly nonfiction—no dialogue or other material has been made up—and set in the dirt-poor Texas landscape that spawned the star-crossed outlaws, Paul Schneider’s brilliantly researched and dramatically crafted tale begins with a daring jailbreak and ends with an ambush and shoot-out that consigns their bullet-riddled bodies to the crumpled front seat of a hopped-up getaway car. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s relationship was, at the core, a toxic combination of infatuation blended with an instinct for going too far too fast. The poetry-writing petite Bonnie and her gun-crazy lover drove lawmen wild. Despite their best efforts the duo kept up their exploits, slipping the noose every single, damned time. That is until the weight of their infamy in four states caught up with them in the famous ambush that literally blasted away their years of live-action rampage in seconds. Without glamorizing the killers or vilifying the cops, the book, alive with action and high-level entertainment, provides a complete picture of America’s most famous outlaw couple and the culture that created them.

I enjoyed this book, but it was odd. Parts of the book read like the narrator of a play – I was listening to this one and often found my brain expecting the narrator to step off stage and the actors to start the action again. It jumped around to parts written from Clyde’s point of view – “You said. . . You thought . . You did” – and I kept getting a little lost. It probably didn’t help that I was listening to this book instead of reading a hard copy.

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