PENDER: First look: Former Gov. Haley Barbour’s Katrina book

On the afternoon of August 29, 2005, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour knew someone had to be in charge after Hurricane Katrina’s winds died and storm surge receded and realized “for better or for worse, that was me.”

“America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina” is co-authored by the former two-term governor and Mississippi author and politico Jere Nash. Long in the works — and put on the backburner for at least a couple of years by Barbour’s own admission — it’s set to hit book stores Aug. 10, shortly before the 10th anniversary of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

The book is not a storm thriller. It’s devoid of breathless hyperbole or purple prose about the killer storm, and it’s not a deeply personal memoir. It’s more a well-sourced, analytical and historical account of how Barbour and the state coped with Katrina before, during and in the year following the storm. It should be issued to every state’s governor, and required reading for them and their emergency management leaders.