In Nine Lives, Dan Baum gives the reader a glimpse of New Orleans from Hurricane Betsy until after Katrina. Told through the eyes of a group that cuts across racial and class boundaries, Baum is able to convey how New Orleans is an unique and complex American city. In the book, we meet a coroner, a high school band director, a resident of the Garden District's elite, a policeman, and the wife of a Mardi Gras Indian Chief, among others. Baum is able to bring these five people's stories (along with four others) to life and show how their histories and New Orleans' intertwined for the past forty years. A compelling and page-turning read for anyone who is interested in contemporary New Orleans.