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July 23 , 2008

Under Surge, Under Siege

The Odyssey of Bay St. Louis and Katrina


Winner of the 2010 Eudora Welty Book Prize and the Mississippi Library Association's Nonfiction Author's Award for 2011, Under Surge, Under Siege shows how Hurricane Katrina tore into Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, raking away lives, buildings, and livelihoods in a place known for its picturesque, coastal views; its laid-back, artsy downtown; and its deep-dyed southern cordiality. The tragedy also revealed the inner workings of a community with an indomitable heart and profound neighborly bonds. Those connections often brought out the best in people under the worst of circumstances. In Under Surge, Under Siege, Ellis Anderson, who rode out the storm in her Bay St. Louis home and sheltered many neighbors afterwards, offers stories of generosity, heroism, and laughter in the midst of terror and desperate uncertainty.

Divided into two parts, this book invites readers into the intimate enclave before, during, and after the storm. "Under Surge" focuses on connections between residents, and then it demonstrates how those bonds sustained them through the worst hurricane in U.S. history. "Under Siege" documents the first three years of the grinding aftermath, detailing the unforeseen burdens of stress and depression, insurance scandals, and opportunists that threatened to complete the annihilation of the plucky town.

A blend of memoir, personal diary, and firsthand reportage, Under Surge, Under Siege creates a compelling American testament to the strength of the human spirit.

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