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When the Sky Fell: Hurricane Maria and the United States in Puerto Rico

Michael Deibert’s When the Sky Fell: Hurricane Maria and the United States in Puerto Rico (Apollo Publishers, September 2019) is an interweaving of first-hand reportage and history that comprehensively exposes what happened during Hurricane Maria, why Puerto Rico was so poorly prepared, and why a U.S. territory, an island of American citizens, was largely ignored by the federal government in the wake of a catastrophic natural disaster. The book pulls back the veil to reveal the decisions that set the island on this path before, during and in the wake of the storm and in doing so, reveals the stories of everyday heroism, compassion and unexpected joy that have defined the island before and after Maria.

Michael Deibert is a journalist, author and Visiting Scholar at Franklin & Marshall College. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, the Daily Beast, Le Monde diplomatique, Folha de Sao Paulo and the World Policy Journal, among other venues. He was awarded a grant from the International Peace Research Association and was selected as a finalist for the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, both in recognition of his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He is the author of four previous books: Haiti Will Not Perish: A Recent History (Zed Books, 2017), In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel, and the Price of America’s Drug War in Mexico (Lyons Press 2014), The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (Zed Books, 2013) and Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti (Seven Stories Press, 2005).


Thursday, March 7

Cowles Library, Reading Room

Event Type



General Public, Undergraduate Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, Prospective Students, Law Students, Parents, Graduate Students


Free Admission

College of Arts & Sciences
Contact Name

Monique Rodriguez

Contact Email Address


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Lynn McCool

Lynn McCool left a positive review 3/6/2019

We really enjoyed this book talk. Fascinating topic about a little understood place.