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Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial is a stunning piece of journalism that really shows the best and worst of humanity in the 21st century. For most of the world, spending an entire life in a structured society filled with laws and morals is the norm, and anything different is animalistic or barbaric. However, within five days of Hurricane Katrina, the survivors trapped inside Memorial Hospital quickly lose connection with the way the outside world works and resort to acting, in what they see as, the most appropriate line of action.
Unfortunately medicine today is extremely dependent on modern technology, leaving care in an almost pre-historic state when all power and water are cut off. Memorial Hospital had been flooded in a previous hurricane but the plans to move the generators from the basement to an above ground level never got anywhere past their blueprint stage. If the plans were followed through to the end, God only knows how many more people would have been able to survive. This only points out that humans naturally have terrible foresight, and will probably never act until after something disastrous happens, and even then, any push for action quickly looses momentum after disaster is averted.

This book really opens up the reader’s attention to what the world is unfortunately able to be like in a very clear, easy to follow manor. Fink makes reading her work simple through her unique choice of words and sentence structure. She has a very clever way of describing what she wants the reader to see by changing the frame of reference from one person to another, so the reader is able to see all sides of the disastrous story. This book, though very good, should not be read by anyone who is looking for a cheery, sunshiny book. If Five Days at Memorial happens to be on your list of books to read, be warned: there are many gloomy realities within its pages.

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