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Inside 9-11: What Really Happened Mass Market Paperback – September 16, 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The editors of Der Spiegel magazine have put together a comprehensive account of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The book is divided into several sections, including a chronology of the events of September 11 and background on the terrorists especially the years they spent in Hamburg, Germany. This well-researched effort is a chilling yet compelling study of the terrorists, their victims, and the loved ones left behind. The appendixes provide much reference material, including excerpts from the terrorists' manual, a list of the known terrorists, timetables for each of the hijacked planes, Mohamed Atta's will, and a transcript of part of the infamous Osama bin Laden videotape. Even with the large number of contributors, the quality of writing and editing is consistently high throughout. Although some of the chronology is slightly out of order (e.g., the fourth plane to crash is described before the third), this does not detract from the overall effort. This is an important volume in what is sure to be an ever-growing collection of books on the topic. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. Karen Sandlin Silverman, Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Brilliant . . . A deeply disturbing and comprehensive overview, minutely researched."--John Le Carré

"As Germany's news magazine of record, Der Spiegel has always treated its readers to a unique fusion of rigorous reporting and vivid storytelling. Now its reporters have deployed those talents to extraordinary effect in a gripping account of the cataclysm of September 11th. Along the way American readers will profit from Spiegel's ironic hometown advantage: the magazine's editorial offices are located in Hamburg, the city where September 11th ringleader Mohammed Atta and many of the other leading hijackers apparently plotted the attack. As a result, Spiegel journalists have managed to draw a dense and compelling collective portrait of a handful of inconspicuous students who would ultimately become the world's most notorious terrorists."--Christian Caryl, Moscow Bureau Chief, Newsweek Magazine

"Easily the most comprehensive reconstruction of the events of 9-11. It takes advantage of unparalleled access to police documents and reporting on three continents to paint a compelling portrait of the tragedy."--Ian Johnson, Berlin Bureau Chief, the Wall Street Journal

"I read every word of the daily newspaper coverage in the days and weeks after the attacks. Not only does Inside 9-11 distill the events of that astonishing day into a highly compelling and coherent story, but it's full of intriguing details I haven't encountered anywhere else. This is a first-rate piece of work."--Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century

"Der Spiegel, whose editorial offices are in Hamburg, was uniquely positioned to report on the safe houses, cells, and mosques that bred the terrorists . . . Inside 9-11 offers accounts of the terrorists' whereabouts from as early as 1992."--the New Yorker

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031298748X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312987480
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the last six months, I read the New York Times book Out of the Blue, and to be honest the Germans did a better job with this book. I think both this and Out of the Blue are 5 star reads though. What really mattered was the extra information Der Spiegel put into this book. As an example--how did the U.S. Government figure out the passengers who hijacked the four planes? Well on one of the calls to an airline headquarters, the stewardess stated the seats the hijackers occupied, and one of these was Atta. This information was not in Out of the Blue.
Also interviews with Atta's father and other hijackers families.
The beginning of the book talks quite a bit about the two planes which crashed into the World Trade Center. Not as much info on the Pennsylvania crash or the Pentagon attack. What is include gives good detail. There is more in depth material on the New York attacks. The next to last chapter details how much of the operation was conceived and supported in Hamberg, Germany. Many of the hijackers not only were educated here, but also settled down there. Since the authors are Germans, much is detailed on the German connection.
In the appendix are some of Atta's writing and the drivel of Bin Laden. One wonders who believes in this stuff. It is apparent, bin Laden has not only managed to hijack four planes but believers in a religion. The writers attempt to make some analysis on this in the summary, but it will still leave the reader shaking his head on these beliefs.
One small minus was a number of typos in the copy.
Altogether a great read on a tragic event for America.
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Format: Hardcover
Although there are already many books about 9-11, this book stands out. Composed of brief but intertwining stories about the terrorists and those fighting to stay alive, this fast-paced book reads more like a thriller than the other dry, academic books on the subject. I couldn't put it down.
As a New Yorker, I was just a few miles from the disaster and could smell the smoke for days. I was initially reluctant to read the book -- I thought I already knew what happened. But this book in particular helps bring the events of those days into clearer focus.
Meticulously researched and well-written, the book contains some amazing survivor stories, but also details the 911 calls from people trapped inside the buildings, conversations from the airplanes, and even the hotel rooms rented by the terrorists. It also explains what motivated a group of unlikely students to orchestrate such an unimaginable act.
The book is remarkable not in its analaysis of the tragedy, but in the seemingly mundane and innocuous details of the firefighters, victims, and terrorists. The events of 9-11 are often told from the "big picture" perspective. This book provides insight into the human stories.
Particularly amazing is the appendix in the back of the book. This resource contains the bios of the terrorists, succinct explanations of Al Qaeda, and the complete Al Qaeda terrorist handbook found in the rental car of one of the terrorists. While I have read snipets of this in the past, I do not know of anywhere else where this chilling document is available in its entirety.
There are many books about 9-11, but no other book provides the same level of detail. This book will continue to engross readers in years to come.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the best Sept. 11 book I've yet read, and it doesn't even come from America. The reporting is excellent and thorough and the level of detail is impressive. Sometimes gory, sometimes horrifying, but always educational, this book examines the events of that day from the point of view of the terrorists as well as the victims. An appendix includes the terrorists' final instructions, which are quite chilling to read. Kudos to Der Spiegel for putting together the best 9/11 coverage so far.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After the recent London underground bombing attack [juli 2005] my hometown bookshop displayed, on a special table, literature about terrorism. Here I found 9/11. I wanted to buy it allthough I hesitated, was I ready to read this? Once reading I finished it within days. The German writers-team of Der Spiegel took me through the stories of all kinds of people who were linked directly to 9/11. They interviewed members of the New York Fire Department and people who worked in the Twin Towers and how they all tried to resist the inferno after the planes hit. You also get acuinted with the hijacker's and their dark years before they attacked, as well as persons who knew them well, like landlords, co-workers, friends and family. Every person somehow comes alive by perfect narration, and many details are moving. Its very personal, which makes it touchable. The writers convinced me they are born writers. I can really recommend this book. It gives faces, like me and you, to a very bad event of the recent past. And last but not least, it presents insight in how different people cope with the aftermath of 9/11.
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Format: Hardcover
I have always been a bit hesitant when picking up a book that has more then one author, let alone a full reporting staff. Many times I find that you can either tell very distinctly when one author finishing and a another author starts or when there are a lot of authors, it tends to be a mix of styles that never really flow together. Somehow this book had none of this, it must have been a very strong editor or a translation thing, but the book spoke with one voice and was very evenly put together. The book had different sections, pre attack, attack and post attack and all three were insightful and well written. This is the first book on the topic that I have read that went into a good amount of detail about the individual hijackers, it really tried to paint a picture of who they were and what theirs lives were like leading up to the event. It did not really explain why they would do what they did, but it did give the reader some understanding of who they were.
During the section of the book that detailed the attack there were a number of interviews and a running description of the event, both were well done. But the part that I found most powerful was that the authors placed bits of 911 calls from people in the towers into the text that really brought a lot of emotion into the reading. Ok so it is a rather cheap way to do it, but it worked and you really felt the fear and desperation in the situation. Overall I liked the book, it was well written and put together. My only complaint would be that I felt the last section, the aftermath, was not as engrossing as the first two sections, but to be honest that is problem that it would be difficult for any author to top the drama of the attacks. One other minor point, in non-fiction I like a few pictures to let me see whom you are talking about etc., this book had none. If you are interested in the topic this is a good place to land.
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