Graff, journalist and author of Raven Rock, shares the first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001--a panoramic narrative woven from hundreds of interviews with government officials, first responders, survivors, friends, and family members.
The result is remarkable, and Mr. Graff’s curation of these accounts—drawn from hundreds of his own interviews and from the reporting of other journalists and historians—is a priceless civic gift ... On page after page, a reader will encounter words that startle, or make him angry, or heartbroken, or queasy ... it is the goodness of ordinary people that leaves the deepest impression ... In Mr. Graff’s book, the little details are allowed to speak for themselves, and the effect is one of notable eloquence.
Among the most powerful entries in this new canon ... visceral ... also tells stories that, while massive in scope in their own right, were drowned out by the enormity of the day ... brutal, emotionally wracking reading. I repeatedly cried. I could feel my pulse elevate. I often had to put it down after a dozen pages. But I think that's the point of the book. Sept. 11 was terrible and confusing, and the more time passes, sometimes the harder that is to remember. No matter how much we try to describe those feelings to children who didn't live through them, something will be lost in the translation and telling ... This book captures the emotions and unspooling horror of the day. It will be a good text to hand to a curious teenager when he one day asks: What was Sept. 11 really like?
... a diverse group of individual experiences. There are tragedies and losses, moments of heroism and survival, and fears and foreshadowings of a darker future to come ... This book is an excellent resource for readers seeking to understand how, and why.