Early praise is piling up for founder Sandy Rosenthal’s debut book, Words Whispered in Water: Why the Levees Broke in Hurricane Katrina.
It’s the story of how––against all odds––Sandy Rosenthal and her grassroots group exposed the culprit in the catastrophic flooding of New Orleans and compelled the news media and the government to tell the truth.
The book will be published by Florida-based Mango Publishing (fast growing independent publisher in 2019 according to Publisher’s Weekly) and will be released on August 11, 2020.
See what they said!
“For years, Sandy Rosenthal has been the go-to source for any reporter seeking to understand the truth about flood protection in New Orleans: what really happened to the levees following Hurricane Katrina and the steps taken (and those that still need to happen) to protect the area and its residents. Read the inside story for yourself in this readable, engaging tale of how Rosenthal began investigating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shortly after Katrina and her efforts to hold accountable the Corps and other public officials.”
―Gary Rivlin, author of Katrina: After the Flood
“Putting herself in the path of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the local media, academia, and entrenched political interests in order to get to the truth about the New Orleans levee system took guts, as well as masterful community organizing. Anyone who is interested in Hurricane Katrina, and in America’s failing infrastructure, will want to read this book told in a fast-paced narrative.”
―Scott G. Knowles, head of the Department of History at Drexel University and author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America
“Sandy Rosenthal’s account of the founding of levees.org after the flood of New Orleans is an invaluable memoir of the making of an activist. In a world crying out for citizen action around increasingly desperate climate issues, her story is timely and instructive―and even hopeful.”
―Michael Tisserand, author of the award-winning The Kingdom of Zydeco
“Sandy Rosenthal is a courageous and indefatigable warrior for justice.”
― Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
“Sandy is a New Orleans hero. Her advocacy on behalf of flood protection has changed this city for the better. My own book drew upon some of her research. Sandy can rally people to action like I’ve never seen and is relentless in her efforts to hold government and political leaders accountable.”
―James Cobb, author Flood of Lies: The St. Rita’s Tragedy
“For someone like me, who moved to New Orleans after Katrina, one of the biggest challenges of understanding New Orleans has been to understand what happened in that flood, and why, and what it means. I don’t know of any individual who has done more to elucidate these matters than Sandy Rosenthal. Her scrupulous and ferocious focus on the facts has been a necessary tonic for the city and a help for its citizens. Sunshine is the best disinfectant and Sandy, in those terms, has been a huge source of light.”
―Thomas Beller, associate professor of English and director of Creative Writing at Tulane, author, and contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Times
“An inspiring memoir and gripping detective story, Words Whispered in Water investigates the cause of the 2005 New Orleans flood in all of its muddied complexity. In this era of climate breakdown and failing infrastructure, Rosenthal’s book is more than a history lesson. It’s a master class in citizen advocacy and a rousing call to action.”
―Robert Verchick, former EPA official in the Obama administration and author of Facing Catastrophe
“For all the myths and misinformation that circulated after Hurricane Katrina, there are still people across the country who don’t know that it was the collapse of the levees, not the hurricane itself, that drowned New Orleans. Sandy Rosenthal overcame hurricane hardships to establish, with a computer whiz of a son, the Levees.org website to get the story out and arouse the public. The lengths the Army Corps went through to silence her or deflect the truth and the stumbling blocks she experienced along the way are all here in a quick-moving tale. It makes for a gripping read.”
―Roberta Brandes Gratz, award-winning journalist and author of We’re Still Here Ya Bastards
“As I traveled through New Orleans in early January of 2006, there were no birds, no dogs, no children, no streetlights, no mail…but there were, I discovered as I drove around the haunted cityscape, yard signs in neighborhoods―seemingly everywhere―that said ‘Hold the Corps Accountable.’ They were, I soon learned, the work of Sandy Rosenthal, whose newly constructed Levees.org suspected, before two university investigations made it uncomfortably clear, that ‘Katrina’ was no natural disaster. Sandy is bright, dedicated, and fearless―a bad combination if you’re an Army Corps of Engineers PR person.
“As those university investigations’ results became known, at least to locals, Sandy turned her efforts to doing what would seem normal in other disasters but was ridiculously challenging locally―erecting monuments at key points of system failure to commemorate those who lost their homes, their livelihoods, or their lives through the mis- and mal-feasance of this mysterious federal super-agency. She has fought for her city, and her community, harder than most soldiers fight in war. And, with a new Corps-built system starting to reveal its own problems, she’s not through fighting yet.”
―Harry Shearer, actor, producer, and voice of The Simpsons
“Saving New Orleans is not enough for Sandy Rosenthal. Since the federal levees failed New Orleans in 2005, she has made it her business to tell threatened communities around the country that the Army Corps of Engineers is doing a woeful job of maintaining our infrastructure and guarding our safety. Ignore her at your own peril.”
–Lolis Eric Elie, former Times-Picayune columnist and producer, “Faubourg Treme: the Untold Story of Black New Orleans”
“There are only a few civilians that fight like real warriors. Sandy Rosenthal is one of them. I’ve personally watched Rosenthal stand up for justice against big money companies with deep pockets. Even when the odds were stacked overwhelmingly against her, she came out the victor. Sandy’s determined quest to put the truth about the massive flooding of New Orleans in 2005 in front of the American people is a story that needs to be told…and one that includes important lessons for holding powerful institutions accountable.”
―Russel L. Honore, Lieutenant General, United States Army (Ret.)
“Everyone alive at the time remembers the live-on-TV horror of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly drowning of a great city, New Orleans. The ‘who, what, and why’ of the catastrophe was thereafter carefully PR managed to protect the interests of the powerful, especially the notorious Army Corps of Engineers, shifting the blame to Nature and the city itself. It took a tireless, driven citizen movement to set the record right, confronting the failures of scientists and journalists as well as the devious smears, attacks and propaganda of the powerful. Sandy Rosenthal led their fight and tells the story here. The truth of Hurricane Katrina has been terribly incomplete but is now unspun and revealed in this heroic book, Words Whispered in Water.”
―John Stauber, author of Toxic Sludge is Good for You!