When the Sky Fell

When the Sky Fell

Hurricane Maria and the United States in Puerto Rico

Michael Deibert


  • Description
  • Author
  • Info
  • Reviews


A searing investigation of the factors that devastated Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, from acclaimed investigative reporter Michael Deibert.

When Hurricane Maria roared across Puerto Rico in September 2017, it devastated the island. It was an unprecedented natural disaster, a Category 5 major hurricane, and ultimately responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 people. It also ripped away the facade that had dominated discussions of the island’s relationship with the United States for over a century.

This is the first book to comprehensively expose what happened during Hurricane Maria, why Puerto Rico was so poorly prepared, and why a US territory, an island of American citizens, was largely ignored by the federal government in the wake of a catastrophic natural disaster.

Using a blend of history and on-the-ground reportage, Michael Deibert pulls back the veil of the island known for its powdery beaches, rainforests, and apricot-and-lavender sunsets to reveal the trajectory for the decisions that set it on the path to the disaster that came during and in the wake of the storm, when its entire power grid and much of its water supply was knocked out. In doing so, he also reveals the stories of everyday heroism, compassion, and unexpected joy that have defined the island before and after Hurricane Maria.


Michael Deibert:

Michael Deibert is a journalist, author, and the Caribbean Correspondent for Bloomberg. His articles have been published in The Guardian, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Le Monde Diplomatique, Folha de S.Paulo, and World Policy Journal, among other outlets. He has been a regularly featured commentator on international affairs for BBC, NPR, France 24, and KPFK Pacifica Radio. He was awarded a grant from the International Peace Research Association and was 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. Deibert is the author of Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti; The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair; In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America’s Drug War in Mexico; and Haiti Will Not Perish: A Recent History. Deibert is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.