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Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 Hardcover – August 22, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 provided Rudy Giuliani with a Churchillian political opportunity: while Bush was whisked away by the Secret Service, Giuliani seized the moment, striding stalwartly along ruined streets, an image which may well propel him to the White House. Barrett and Collins' investigation proves an illuminating counterpoint to Giuliani's unofficial christening as "America's Mayor," highlighting the critical errors Guiliani made before, during and after the attack. According to the authors, that memorable image-Rudy among the ruins-hides a multitude of sins: in the event of a terrorist attack, Giuliani should have been directing police, fire and emergency services from the city's high-tech underground emergency management center; unfortunately, Giuliani had insisted that that secure center be located at the World Trade Center. Political infighting between police and fire departments went unchecked, preventing coordination between first responders, and Giuliani's rush to return New York to business as usual (fearing that Wall Street might relocate) may have seriously impaired the health of returning workers and residents. The Giuliani who emerges from these pages-shrewd, calculating, indomitable-remains an impressive figure, but one that will give voters pause. Barrett and Collins provide a critique of one of the lions of 9/11, proving that serious investigation and old-fashioned muckraking are still powerful and necessary weapons.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With a political career sinking under the weight of marital scandal and health concerns, Giuliani saw his personal fortunes rise when he showed leadership after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. But journalists Barrett and Collins take issue with the new heroic image of the former New York mayor and possible presidential candidate. This absorbing and detailed investigation examines the day of the attack (when the fire and police departments were in their usual contentious mode), the lessons that were not learned from the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and the political aftermath of 9/11 for New York and Giuliani. Despite his much-vaunted leadership and talk of his prescience to develop a response team after the 1993 attack, Barrett and Collins maintain that Giuliani failed New Yorkers in myriad ways, including an ill-advised attempt to lobby to change city election laws to leave him in place as mayor and concealing environmental reports on Ground Zero. Given the status Giuliani has attained since 9/11, this controversial book will be in demand. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition/First Printing edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060536608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060536602
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,925,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By tribecan on May 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book does an excellent job of examining how Giuliani, now running as the President of 9/11, and an expert on Homeland Security, dealt with the challenge of preparing New York City to cope with another terrorist attack, after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. The authors' conclusion, heavily sourced and thoroughly argued, is that Giuliani failed to do much of anything to make the city safer. Despite all that was learned about the city's inadequate response in '93, Giuliani failed to get the firefighters new walkie-talkies, so they could communicate with the police, failed to establish a chain of command in the event of an emergency, and, most inexplicably, built, at great expense, his Emergency Command Post at the Trade Center itself, across the street from the '93 attack, rendering it useless on 9/11. These and a host of other mistakes almost certainly led to significant loss of life on 9/11, and seriously undermine Giuliani's claim to be the man we should trust with the nation's security. This is surely a must-read for journalists, and for anyone who wants to understand the events of that horrible day, and the character of this man who is running for President.
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66 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Rob on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Of the many results of the 9/11 attack, I find the elevation of Rudy Giuliani to be wholly undeserved. "Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11", is a welcome...if somewhat tardy attempt to set the record straight - which it does exceedingly well.

Keep in mind, by the day before 9/11 Rudy Giuliani had earned the scorn of most New Yorkers, and was limping toward the finish of his final term as Mayor. He had abandoned a run for the Senate against Hillary Clinton, and would soon disappear into relative obscurity.

Then Tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001 dawned, bright and clear...

After the planes struck, Giuliani had no way of communicating with his administrators as his Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was immediately rendered useless. It was Giuliani, over loud protests, who had insisted the OEM be placed in the Trade Center complex. Like building it in a bull's-eye.

As Giuliani rooted around the streets of lower Manhattan - looking for a place to plug in his telephones - the first responders didn't need to hear his orders or exhortations. They responded selflessly.

That he was a divisive mayor is without question.

That he left his first responders vulnerable is tragic.

That he has profited personally and politically is obscene.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By J. L LaRegina on January 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In New York City they call the police New York's Finest and firefighters New York's Bravest. But as journalists Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins explain in their book GRAND ILLUSION, former mayor Rudy Giuliani was New York's Lamest.

GRAND ILLUSION reviews the public record of Giuliani's failure to prepare New York City for what turned out to be the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center terror attacks even after the February 1993 W.T.C. bombing left the writing on the wall. As authors Barrett and Collins point out, Giuliani should have been nowhere near the twin towers as they burned and collapsed. Ironically, the media made his inappropriate presence that morning into something heroic. And Giuliani let the people worship him when, in good conscience, he should have refunded his mayor's salary and apologized to the survivors of everyone who would not have died that day had New York City properly organized its emergency management.

The Giuliani administration's atrocious lack of preparation for the kind of attack that would be 9/11 rivals that of FEMA and Hurricane Katrina. As you read GRAND ILLUSION, the film BEING THERE may come to mind. Both tell the story of a bumbler whom others misinterpret as someone great. While BEING THERE is fiction, GRAND ILLUSION is a sad, tragic truth.

If you can handle the truth, read GRAND ILLUSION by Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Mills on October 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Rudy Giuliani is a private citizen now. And he'll remain one if this book gets any traction. Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 contains the kind of data that could bring St. Rudy earthward. It's a pretty damning portrait of a lame-duck mayor crippled by petty ideological battles, misplaced priorities, cronyism, plain old incompetence, and a city that dawdled as the signs of an impending terrorist attack grew clearer every day. While crediting Giuliani for his ability to rally the city, the authors zero in on the policies and practices they say created more heroes than survivors on September 11. You can be sure that Hillary has highlighted her copy until it's dripping bright pink.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Goldie on March 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are so many lessons to be drawn from the events of September 11th. This book does a good job of outlining some of them. The "heckuva job Brownie" school of leadership was not limited to FEMA. Hacks, political supporters and hangers-on were rewarded with appointments to positions of power in emergency services. This might have gone unnoticed except for a disaster which called for competence at the time and begged scrutiny after the fact. The failure to play by the rules throughout the history of the WTC, intersecting with greed and politics as usual - in skirting safety regulations and rewarding hapless coat-holders - is the story here. Rudy is a pedestrian leader and a consumate huckster. Shame on us for being fooled.

The authors do a good job of presenting technical info regarding radio communications snafus that were avoidable and centered in sweetheart deals. They also do a good job of capturing the essence of many of the players in this tragedy who were just not up to the tasks thrust upon them. Little in their histories suggest that they would have been.

Now that Rudy wants to be president, partisans will cry that this is an ad hominem attack...but the truth is an absolute defense and Rudy simply can't mount it. Read this for the facts. The ample footnotes give the reader an opportunity to test skepticism.
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