I’m on a bit of a book-reading binge this summer, as I try to finish as many as possible before our first child arrives sometime in early September and I no longer have time to read any books for the next, oh, five years or so.
So I’m going to be doing a couple of book review posts this week.
The first one I want to discuss, and a book that made me say “Wow!” a whole bunch of times while reading it, was Sheri Fink’s “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death at a storm-ravaged hospital.”
If you’ve never heard of the book (the New York Times named it one of the 10 best of 2013), it’s a meticulous examination of the horrors that occurred at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
Fink spent five years doing exhaustive research on the depravity, chaos and desperation felt by patients, doctors, nurses and administrators at Memorial, and takes us through the incredible decision of Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses to essentially “euthanize” nine of their sickest patients, injecting them with obscenely high amounts of Morphine and Versed.
The book gives incredible detail of the highly-controversial injections, which some saw as murder, others as mercy (while I’m a big proponent of euthanisia, I thought this was murder), and you find so many heroes in the narrative.
It is, and should be continue to forever be seen, as a disgrace at how the governments at all levels neglected the people of New Orleans. And from the prism of a hospital that lost power, generators and so much more, it looks even worse.
Fink is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, and this book is outstanding. Definitely read it if you can.
**Next up, this is quirky and weird and sorta mesmerizing, which makes it perfect for my blog.
The harmonizing, hypnotic sounds of raindrops, when all mixed together, sounds pretty darn cool.
**Finally today, I’m really happy to see Joe Torre, the best Yankees manager of the last 50 years, got inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. For Yankees fans of Generation X, who came of age in the 1980s and early 1990s, Torre was a godsend. He built on what Buck Showalter had built and finally brought the Yankees back to the World Series, winning in 1996 in what is still my favorite Yankees team ever.
Lots of people knocked Torre despite the Yankees’ success, saying he wasn’t a great manager prior to coming to New York, and the often-ridiculous “Anyone could’ve won with all that talent and payroll.” Which is patently absurd, since it’s rare that the team with the most talent and highest payroll wins every year in baseball.
Torre had a gift for getting the most out of his players, coaxing performances way above their level out of guys like Scott Brosius, Chuck Knoblach, Jorge Posada, and Jeff Nelson. He was tremendous in the post 9/11 New York chaos, and always came across as a regular guy in his dream job.
His speech Sunday was terrific, if a bit long; here’s a link to the whole speech, but his closing I wanted excerpt here:
There is a power to both patience and persistence. Baseball is a game of life. It’s not perfect, but it feels like it is. That’s the magic of it. We are responsible for giving it the respect it deserves. Our sport is part of the American soul, and it’s ours to borrow. Just for a while. To take care of it for a time and then pass it on to the next generation; when I say us, I mean as managers, as players. If all of us who love baseball are doing our jobs, then those who get the game from us will be as proud to be a part of it as we were, and we are.
This game is a gift, and I am humbled, very humbled, to accept its greatest honor. Thank you very much.