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The epic story of the real victims of a perfect storm—overwhelmingly the poor—left behind in the aftermath of a deadly hurricane “A riveting new book.” —Tallahassee Democrat “Not simply an historical account of a storm thirty-seven years ago but a living, breathing entity brimming with the modern-day reality that, yes, it can happen again.” —American Meteorological Society Bulletin "Fascinating, easy-to-read, yet informative.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch “Almost like sitting in front of the television watching the events unfold. A page-turner from the very first page.” —Ruston Morning Paper “There is much we can all learn from this relevant and highly engaging chronicle.” — Biloxi Sun Herald “A must-read for anyone who wants to take an emotional stroll through the rubble of these Gulf Coast fishing communities and learn what happened.” —Apalachicola Times “Should be required reading for anyone living in the path of these terrible storms.” — As the unsettled social and political weather of summer 1969 played itself out amid the heat of antiwar marches and the battle for civil rights, three regions of the rural South were devastated by the horrifying force of Category 5 Hurricane Camille. Camille’s nearly 200 mile per hour winds and 28-foot storm surge swept away thousands of homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. Twenty-four oceangoing ships sank or were beached; six offshore drilling platforms collapsed; 198 people drowned. Two days later, Camille dropped 108 billion tons of moisture drawn from the Gulf onto the rural communities of Nelson County, Virginia—nearly three feet of rain in 24 hours. Mountainsides were washed away; quiet brooks became raging torrents; homes and whole communities were simply washed off the face of the earth. In this gripping account, Ernest Zebrowski and Judith Howard tell the heroic story of America’s forgotten rural underclass coping with immense adversity and inconceivable tragedy. Category 5 shows, through the riveting stories of Camille’s victims and survivors, the disproportionate impact of natural disasters on the nation’s poorest communities. It is, ultimately, a story of the lessons learned—and, in some cases, tragically unlearned—from that storm: hard lessons that were driven home once again in the awful wake of Hurricane Katrina. Ernest Zebrowski is founder of the doctoral program in science and math education at Southern University, a historically black university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Professor of Physics at Pennsylvania State University’s Pennsylvania College of Technology. His previous books include Perils of a Restless Planet: Scientific Perspectives on Natural Disasters. Judith Howard earned her Ph.D. in clinical social work from UCLA, and writes a regular political column for the Ruston, Louisiana, Morning Paper.

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