Today in the New York Sun, Bill McClay, a Bosque Boys favorite, reviews the latest from "gonzo" historian Douglas Brinkley, The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

It is the policy of the Bosque Boys to promote charity and humane treatment toward the intellectually defenseless, but, for all of those who have practiced the art of history in New Orleans, or suffered through a Doug Brinkley moment on some cable news network, I am making an exception in this case.

The full review is linked here (which I heartily recommend), but I am posting a few choice excerpts below:

One can be excused for wondering from the outset whether enough time has passed for anything of this epic scale to be written about these tragic and infuriating events - or whether Mr. Brinkley is the man for the job. Let me confess that I haven't read all of the writings of Douglas Brinkley. I doubt that anyone - perhaps not even Mr. Brinkley himself - has ever done that. He is a veritable ... deluge of literary productivity, with books to his credit on a dizzying array of subjects, ranging from Beat poetry to Jimmy Carter, and from Henry Ford to, most recently, the failed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Indeed, the range of his literary productions is so wide as to seem indiscriminate. But his bestknown writings seem to have three things in common.

First and foremost is their relentless mediocrity. I cannot think of a historian or public intellectual who has managed to make himself so prominent in American public life without having put forward a single memorable idea, a single original analysis, or a single lapidary phrase - let alone without publishing a book that has had any discernable impact. Mr. Brinkley is, to use Daniel Boorstin's famous words, a historian famous for being well-known.

Second is their sloppiness, partly an inevitable product of the haste in their composition, and partly, one suspects, of a mind that becomes easily bored by careful, close analysis. Mr. Brinkley's views may always track the conventional wisdom, but you would never want to rely on his books as sources of accurate detail. Would you trust a writer who trades on his intimate knowledge of the Gulf South, and yet claims at one point (page 548) that a tired-looking President Bush could not have been jetlagged because "Washington was in the same time zone as Mobile"?

Third, and perhaps most important, is their political agenda, although the word "political" does not quite do the matter justice. Better to say that Brinkley always seems to be seeking someone's favor in what he writes.Which is to say that he has the moral instincts of a court historian. And this means that the would-be patron holds the key to the book's real meaning.

[Brinkley on the media:]

One should add, too, that there is no serious criticism of the astounding malfeasances of the news media in covering this story. No mention of the hysterical falsehoods about bodies stacked in freezers and gunfights in the Superdome that were put out to the world,and that have stuck in the world's mind, even as their basis in fact crumbled. Instead, Mr. Brinkley writes about the news media exactly as you would expect someone who wants to be well treated by them, and invited back to appear on their cable shows: They were all heroes.