Zeitoun, By Dave Eggers

Caught in a storm of ignorance and bigotry
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The Independent Culture

This superlative account of the real-life experience of a victim of Hurricane Katrina is told using the tools of the novelist, but Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his wife Kathy's tales are almost too horrific for fiction.

A father of four with a successful contracting firm, Zeitoun sat out the storm in New Orleans in order to watch over his business and his home. He helped rescue others and fed abandoned dogs – until the military decided that his Syrian origins made him a member of al-Qa'ida. His subsequent detention and treatment is a horrible indictment of the "land of the free", and Dave Eggers skilfully links the authorities' terrible dereliction of duty with regard to the victims of the storm, and a bigotry born of ignorance.