By Randolph E. Schmid
Associated Press Writer
When disaster strikes, instant books are never far behind. That’s definitely the case with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, as several volumes crowd bookstores and magazine stands.
Two stand out.
The Katrina tragedy will be in the news for years but pictures are the essence of the story as it enveloped the people of New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.
Two organizations known for their ability to use pictures and graphics, Time and Na-tional Geograp-hic, have pro-duced excellent volumes about this storm.
Time’s “Hurricane Katrina: The Storm That Changes America” (144 Pages. $21.95) is a hardcover while “National Geographic Katrina” by Chris Johns, editor. National Geograp-hic Society. 102 Pages. $4.95) is a softcover, available through Dec. 26, that looks more like a special edition of its famed magazine.
Both publishers say that sales revenue will be used to assist hurricane victims.
Time’s volume is strong on graphics, contains more much text and includes an interesting timeline of de-velopments during the disaster. Ex-cellent maps appear in both volumes, though National Geographic’s many years of mapmaking expertise shows.
Time’s book is longer and offers more photos, sometimes several to a page.
National Geographic may have fewer pictures overall but achieves greater impact with many of them by displaying them across full-page and even double-page spreads.
One photo jumps out at the reader as it shows a family huddled atop a vehicle, and others up to their chests in swirling floodwaters as they help people climb aboard. It’s spread across Pages 4-5 of both books.
In another double-page spread in the National Geographic volume, a photo by Eric Gay of The Associated Press shows National Guard soldiers tossing cases of bottled water from a hovering helicopter while people be-low rush to collect the much-needed items.
Among the most dramatic images in Time’s volume is a wide shot of a body adrift on a water-filled street, with no one else in sight and a utility pole tilted at an odd angle in the background. The photo is by Thomas Dworzak of Magnum.
Both volumes are well worth their price as they provide insight into a great human tragedy.