Zeitoun Summary

National Bestseller 

The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.

New York Times Notable Book 
An O, The Oprah Magazine Terrific Read of the Year
Huffington Post Best Book of the Year 
New Yorker Favorite Book of the Year 
Chicago Tribune Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year 
Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year 
San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year 
An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Decade

Book Reviews


Cloying3 star

A typical please make this a movie so I can reap the benefits style. To me a its a story about oh me the victim despite my incredibly stupid and misguided errors in judgement. The lack of family concerns in order to guard moneyed assets is unmistakeable. At the end of the book it tells how Zeitoun bought neighboring properties at half their value thus demonstrating his endless money minded ways without consideration of the loss his so called neighbors took. He is an opportunist who demonstrated no giving back to the community he continued to reap huge profits from. This is a story of greed not heroism35


Uplifting and Inspirational5 star

I was expecting something a bit different, but this book is wonderfully written and the content exceptional. What a testament to the spirit and courage of those who stayed behind during Hurricane Katrina and helped those in need. A definite read!55


And you think you have problems!5 star

This is one of those true stories everyone should read.55


Eye opener5 star

What an amazing story! It is unbelievable that this could happen in the United States of America. I admire the courage and dignity of Zeitoun and wish he and his family all the best.55

Bike Nut 16

Zeitoun5 star

This book is profound in so many ways. For me, the two most important things it raises are the very clear illustration of the two sides of the human character. Zeitoun is clearly a hard working, honest and good man, who wanted nothing other than to make a positive contribution to his family, friends and community and (equally as pleasing from a personal standpoint) their dogs. The authorities were faced with a disaster of unseen proportions and in trying to do their best to deal with it, let lapse some of the standards that this country so proudly stands for. Given the sense of insecurity that many people felt at the time about people from other parts of the world, maybe this is understandable, but not as easily forgiven. Sometimes we are too quick to jump to conclusions and assume everyone is not to be trusted. I congratulate all those who helped bring this book to life, it is very thought provoking. I also give credit to this country, that it can be published. There are too many countries in this small world where such acts are not permitted.55


Great story5 star

Courageous tale providing a different perspective on Katrina.55


Book5 star



Cece4 star

Zeitoun is a heart-wrenching great book. A testament to faith and courage.45

Other Books by Dave Eggers

The Circle


The Circle
4     1131
What Is the What


What Is the What
4     119

   Users Online