9/11 books: harrowing reads about September 11 attacks

9/11 books: harrowing reads about September 11 attacks

by Suswati Basu
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Over two decades have passed since that pivotal day when the Twin Towers of New York crumbled in the harrowing September 11 terrorist attacks, claiming the lives of thousands. The aftermath has cast a long shadow of conflict and devastation across the Middle East, reverberations of which persist to this day. Like countless others of my generation, I vividly recall the sheer horror of watching the unfolding tragedy, etching the memory permanently into my consciousness. But for those who want to be reminded and find out more, here are some key books and details about 9/11.

What was 9/11 attack about?

On that fateful 9/11, 19 terrorists affiliated with the extremist faction al-Qaeda commandeered four commercial airliners. They orchestrated the calculated destruction of two of these aircraft by crashing them into the iconic World Trade Center buildings, precipitating the collapse of these symbols of commerce and ambition.

Another plane was steered with deadly intent into the Pentagon, the nerve centre of the United States Department of Defense, nestled in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth, United Airlines Flight 93, met a different fate, crashing into a Pennsylvania field after courageous passengers wrestled control from the hijackers. It’s believed this flight was destined for either the US Capitol or the White House.

When did 9/11 take place and what was the consequences?

These meticulously coordinated attacks resulted in a grievous toll, claiming nearly 3,000 lives and inflicting severe damage on infrastructure and property. Many rescue personnel ended up with severe health issues as a result of the fumes.

About 74% of responders in the World Trade Center Health Program were diagnosed with at least one physical or mental health condition directly linked to 9/11 exposure, including 28% with a mental health condition. Shockingly, in 2018 Mount Sinai School of Medicine reported that nearly 10,000 first responders and others who were in the Ground Zero area were diagnosed with cancer. More than 2,000 deaths have been attributed to 9/11 illnesses.

The events of September 11, 2001, stand as a profound and tragic milestone in modern history, catalysing sweeping transformations in US and global security policies and the initiation of the War on Terror.

Books about 9/11 event:

In the realm of nonfiction literature, numerous authoritative works delve into the intricacies of the September 11 attacks. Here are some standout books about 9/11:

Read: Syrian civil war books: ten years on after Ghouta chemical attack
  • The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garrett M. Graff. This compelling volume compiles firsthand testimonies from survivors, witnesses, and first responders, weaving together a poignant oral history of that day.
  • Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11” by Mitchell Zuckoff. This narrative traces the trajectory of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, encompassing not only the immediate rescue efforts but also the ensuing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. It stands as a poignant tribute to human resilience.
  • In the Shadow of No Towers” by Art Spiegelman. Departing from the traditional format, this graphic novel provides a personal account of Spiegelman’s own experiences during 9/11 and its aftermath, offering a poignant glimpse into the trauma inflicted by the attacks.

These are just a handful of the many eye-opening nonfiction books exploring the 9/11 attacks. While we haven’t included many detailed books regarding the aftermath and the lead-up to the attack, (including the US involvement in the first Gulf War and Afghanistan, as well as subsequent wars in the same region), these reads highlight much of the event itself.

Selecting the right one depends on your particular interests and perspectives. Whether you seek historical context, survivor narratives, or deeply personal reflections, these books offer a powerful and poignant lens through which to comprehend one of the most momentous events in recent history and to honour the memories of those affected.

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This article contains affiliate links via Bookshop.org in which we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, in order to support local bookshops. We have not been commissioned to review books and services.


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