Date: May 3, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jeanette Smith, NMSU Library, (575) 646-7492, firstname.lastname@example.org
Historian Bill Boehm, a former New Mexico State University Library staff member, is the lead author of a new book, In Katrina’s Wake: The National Guard on the Gulf Coast, 2005, with Renee Hylton and Major Thomas W. Mehl. The book was published by the U.S. Government Printing Office.
Hurricane Katrina became the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history after it struck the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi in August 2005. Among the men and women tasked to rescue stranded citizens and manage the dangerous conditions were those from the National Guard, America’s oldest military organization. The Guard undertook the largest humanitarian mission in recorded U.S. history by sending more than 50,000 soldiers and airmen from all U.S. states and territories to the stricken region for over a month.
In Katrina’s Wake shows how Katrina first grew from a seemingly-routine Category One hurricane in Florida into a behemoth storm in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing more than 150 miles per hour winds and large swells of water upon hundreds of thousands of people. It struck Louisiana and Mississippi somewhat diminished in strength, but it flooded 80% of the city of New Orleans as levees failed, and flattened buildings and structures in Mississippi. More than 1,800 individuals were killed, and many more were incapacitated.
The story of the National Guard during the time of the hurricane was not always well-publicized, nor was it correctly reported by the mass media. This work lets readers focus on the tasks undertaken by the Guard in aiding marooned residents and assisting local authorities without overemphasizing political or social commentary prevalent in reporting the larger story. It uses oral histories recorded by soldiers and airmen to illustrate the stark conditions present on the ground, and it includes maps, photographs and multiple appendices that detail the National Guard units that came to the Gulf States, as well as a timeline that shows how events progressed.
Boehm obtained his master of arts degree in history from New Mexico State University in 1997. He worked in the NMSU Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department from 2000 to 2006, and then accepted a position as an archivist for the National Guard Bureau. He presently works as an historian for the Bureau, organizing state histories from units serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, researching and writing historical reports and conducting oral history projects to support National Guard activity.
In Katrina’s Wake is available at the NMSU Library and at other libraries and bookstores nationwide. For more information, visit the Library’s online catalog at http://libcat.nmsu.edu or email Boehm at email@example.com.