From Publishers Weekly
When the World Trade Center fell, construction superintendent Vitchers and crane operator Gray were among the hundreds of workers hired by one of the management firms selected by New York City's Department of Design and Construction to recover bodies and clear debris. The authors recall how tensions grew between construction workers and fire and police personnel as the latter focused their efforts on recovering the bodies of their colleagues, slighting civilian casualties, who received no honor guard or a flag as they were carried out of the pit. Aided by freelancer Stout, Vitchers and Gray have harsh words for the DDC, which often put bureaucratic and political concerns above the recovery process: "The faster and cheaper the work was done, the better the DDC would look." Morale was low, site safety was problematic and chaos often reigned at ground zero. Although it has some worthy moments—particularly, the demythologizing of the firefighters, the shoring up of the unstable slurry wall and the logistics of removing millions of tons of debris from a burial ground—this feels like an also-ran among the mass of 9/11 titles. 8 pages of color photos not seen by PW
. (Apr. 25)
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Although the attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11 are etched into our consciousness, few of us understand the enormity of the task of the subsequent search and rescue and protracted debris removal. The shots of the site with the coming and going of trucks is the most any of us remember about the grueling cleanup project. As the men who originally built the towers, coauthors Charles Vitchers and Robert Gray were uniquely qualified to help. Unasked, they devoted nine months of their lives, not to mention the stress, sleep deprivation, and loss of family life that went along with it. The scale and complexity is nearly unfathomable: 400 million pounds of twisted steel; 600,000 square feet of thick shattered glass; and mountains of the trappings of office life, including chairs, desks, and other furnishings; all mixed with the scattered remains of almost 3,000 victims. Through this account of their heroic effort, beginning at the moment of first impact, we can begin to get a sense of what the men and women went through who dealt with the tragedy firsthand. David SiegfriedCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved