The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
Publisher: Regan Books
"For the better part of a week, nearly every man, woman, and child in Gander and the surrounding smaller towns stopped what they were doing so they could help. They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed." When thirty-eight jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001, due to the closing of United States airspace, the citizens of this small community were called upon to come to the aid of more than six thousand displaced travelers. Roxanne and Clarke Loper were excited to be on their way home from a lengthy and exhausting trip to Kazakhstan, where they had adopted a daughter, when their plane suddenly changed course and they found themselves in Newfoundland. Hannah and Dennis O'Rourke, who had been on vacation in Ireland, were forced to receive updates by telephone on the search for their son Kevin, who was among the firefighters missing at the World Trade Center. George Vitale, a New York state trooper and head of the governor's security detail in New York City who was returning from a trip to Dublin, struggled to locate his sister Patty, who worked in the Twin Towers. A family of Russian immigrants, on their way to the Seattle area to begin a new life, dealt with the uncertainty of conditions in their future home. The people of Gander were asked to aid and care for these distraught travelers, as well as for thousands more, and their response was truly extraordinary. Oz Fudge, the town constable, searched all over Gander for a flight-crew member so that he could give her a hug as a favor to her sister, a fellow law enforcement officer who managed to reach him by phone. Eithne Smith, an elementary-school teacher, helped the passengers staying at her school put together letters to family members all over the world, which she then faxed. Bonnie Harris, Vi Tucker, and Linda Humby, members of a local animal protection agency, crawled into the jets' cargo holds to feed and care for all of the animals on the flights. Hundreds of people put their names on a list to take passengers into their homes and give them a chance to get cleaned up and relax. The Day the World Came to Town is a positively heartwarming account of the citizens of Gander and its surrounding communities and the unexpected guests who were welcomed with exemplary kindness.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “This is history at its most immediate and moving…A marvelous and memorable book.” —Jon Meacham “Remarkable…A priceless civic gift…On page after page, a reader will encounter words that startle, or make him angry, or heartbroken.” —The Wall Street Journal “Visceral...I repeatedly cried…This book captures the emotions and unspooling horror of the day.” —NPR “Had me turning each page with my heart in my throat…There’s been a lot written about 9/11, but nothing like this. I urge you to read it.” —Katie Couric The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma. Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, which traced the rise of al-Qaeda, to The 9/11 Commission Report, the government’s definitive factual retrospective of the attacks. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it. Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, award-winning journalist and bestselling historian Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet. Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York City, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker underneath the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard the small number of unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United Flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid. More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son working in the North Tower, caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from rushing into the burning building to try to rescue their colleagues. At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.
“I was only nine years old, but I knew what death was. It was the end. When it came to my dad though, no amount of rational thought could outweigh my feelings. I watched the footage over and over again, trying to validate my hopes and dreams, believing there was a minute possibility he made it out of the building alive.” After his father died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center, nine-year-old Matthew John Bocchi began an obsessive quest to find out exactly how he died. He researched video tapes, pictures, blogs, anything that could potentially answer the question looming in his mind: was his father one of the jumpers? In the first memoir told by a child of 9/11, Matt intimately delves into the psychological and emotional torment that ensued after his father’s death. With heartbreaking vulnerability, he details how his incessant quest resulted in a devastating act of violence that stripped his innocence as a young man. As Matt spirals down a bottomless pit of drug abuse, he willfully risks his life in search of the next high—all in an attempt to forget his past. Now at twenty-eight years old and sober, he recounts his unique story—one full of heartbreak and despair, grief and uncertainty, but most importantly, happiness and hope. The lesson he teaches us is clear but intricate: No matter how far you fall, you can always rise again. No matter how far you stray, you can always find your way home. And no matter how wide you sway, you can always pick up the pieces and stand tall.
From the Inside Out: Harrowing Escapes from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center by Erik O. Ronningen
Publisher: Flipside Digital Content Company, Inc. and Welcome Rain Publishers
Erik Ronningen was on the 71st floor of the North Tower on September 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the building. After an incredible, near miraculous journey down through the acrid, smoke-filled building, Erik tried to get to the Security Command Center in the South Tower. Unable to do so, he was the last person to make it out of the South Tower alive.Here is the story of his harrowing escape interwoven with the accounts of fourteen others who were lucky enough to be able to recount them.Altogether, these accounts document the bravery and heroism, selflessness and generosity demonstrated by hundreds of people when their normal everyday lives were suddenly plunged into a fiery scramble for survival.The astonishing photograph on the cover of this book was taken by survivor Jim Usher as he lay on the concrete outside the WTC losing consciousness, so his family could see what he saw during what he thought were the last moments of his life. And yes, that flag was really there! This photograph has never before been made public.
Last Man Down: A Firefighter's Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center by Richard Picciotto
An inside look at the devastating events of September 11, 2001, from the perspective of a high-ranking FDNY officer, describes the rescue efforts at Ground Zero and his personal ordeal of being buried for more than four hours in the rubble of the North Tower. Reprint.
Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff
Years in the making, this spellbinding, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting narrative is an unforgettable portrait of 9/11. This is a 9/11 book like no other. Masterfully weaving together multiple strands of the events in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Fall and Rise is a mesmerizing, minute-by-minute account of that terrible day. In the days and months after 9/11, Mitchell Zuckoff, then a reporter for the Boston Globe, wrote about the attacks, the victims, and their families. After further years of meticulous reporting, Zuckoff has filled Fall and Rise with voices of the lost and the saved. The result is an utterly gripping book, filled with intimate stories of people most affected by the events of that sunny Tuesday in September: an out-of-work actor stuck in an elevator in the North Tower of the World Trade Center; the heroes aboard Flight 93 deciding to take action; a veteran trapped in the inferno in the Pentagon; the fire chief among the first on the scene in sleepy Shanksville; a team of firefighters racing to save an injured woman and themselves; and the men, women, and children flying across country to see loved ones or for work who suddenly faced terrorists bent on murder. Fall and Rise will open new avenues of understanding for everyone who thinks they know the story of 9/11, bringing to life—and in some cases, bringing back to life—the extraordinary ordinary people who experienced the worst day in modern American history. Destined to be a classic, Fall and Rise will move, shock, inspire, and fill hearts with love and admiration for the human spirit as it triumphs in the face of horrifying events.
"Alex Douglas always wanted to be a hero. But nothing heroic ever happened to Alex. Nothing, that is, until his eleventh birthday [which fell on September 11, 2001]. Then everything changed"--P.  of cover.
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