ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards program was established to help publishers shine an additional spotlight on their best titles and bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers of the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors. Award winners are chosen from real librarians and booksellers, who are on the front lines everyday working with patrons and customers. Representing more than 350 publishers, the finalists were selected from 1400 entries in 56 categories. These books are examples of independent publishing at its finest.
Rising from Katrina is a story of the kindness of strangers, of minor miracles—and, above all, of how despite bureaucratic snarls and insurance battles a region rolled up its sleeves and rebuilt after the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Images from the Superdome and the rooftops of New Orleans are seared into the American consciousness, but few people realize the Mississippi Gulf Coast was where Katrina hit full force and where the destruction was worst. Entire towns were reduced to shoulder-high rubble by the winds and the unprecedented 30-foot storm surge.
Bay St. Louis, Miss., was the former home of CNN correspondent Kathleen Koch. From her initial Katrina assignment in Alabama, Koch headed west in the storm’s aftermath. The closer she got to her community, the more personal the story became. Old friends asked her to search for loved ones whose bodies would soon be found. She reported from the sites of once-beautiful homes—including her own—stripped to their concrete pads. Time and again, she heard residents’ pleas to spread the word about the dire needs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Rising from Katrina is also the story of a veteran reporter who, struggling to maintain her objectivity amid loss, traveled her own personal path from devastation to recovery.
Kathleen Koch is an award-winning broadcast journalist and former longtime CNN correspondent based in Washington, D.C. Her two documentaries on Bay St. Louis’s recovery received a New York Festivals Gold Medal. She also shared in the Peabody Award CNN won for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
# # #
John F. Blair, Publisher, is an independent, family-owned company that publishes book on the southeastern United States and is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Learn more at www.blairpub.com.