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Out of the Blue: A Narrative of September 11, 2001 Paperback – August 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805074104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805074109
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,414,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran Times reporter and book critic Bernstein has drawn on the newspaper's staff reporting of the terrible events of September 11 to create an account that stands out for its poignancy and humanity. Focusing on the personal the victims, the perpetrators and heroes whose lives became tangled in catastrophe the book goes behind the scenes to explore the ways in which so many lives were irrevocably changed. The personal vignettes are emotional without being maudlin, informative without being polemical. We get, for instance, the stunning moment, described with admirable understatement, when Joe Disorbo at the World Trade Center, who "had been too busy surviving to contemplate the scope of the disaster... realized that he was staring into a dusty vacant sky. 'Where's the building?' he asked, not quite believing the evidence of his eyes." But the book doesn't stop at the personal. It uses these stories as a jumping-off point for a comprehensive look at the terror attacks the reactions of New Yorkers, the nation and the world; the criticism of U.S. government agencies; the lingering effects of the tragedy. While some of this information has been published elsewhere, it has not been gathered so comprehensively nor has it been written so well. This powerful account deserves to be a bestseller. (Sept. 11)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

New York Times veteran Bernstein takes on the demanding job of transforming the paper's reportage on September 11 into a seamless narrative.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I am trying to read all of the september 11 books.
M. S. Butch
If you're not ready to relive the experience, please do not read this book.
A. Vegan
This is a good summary of the attacks and the reasons they originated.
Kevin M Quigg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. S. Butch VINE VOICE on September 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am trying to read all of the september 11 books. I am not exactly sure why; maybe just to be reminded not to become complacent about it. This one juxtaposes chapters describing the plot with chapters focused on the bios of individual victims, a technique that, I think, makes the tragedy more vivid than massing victims in to a big number. I learned a few new things about the plot, a lot of new things about some of the heroism of the victims and the minutes before the collapse. In contrast to the previous reviewer, I did not think the approach was clinical; if anything, I thought the writing was a big overwrought in places. Still, this is a minor complaint about a really well done book.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Didn't anyone eddit this manuscript?

The first few errors I saw just made me cringe. But by the end of this book, I was ready to scream.

For starters, take the reference on page 131 to the two American embassies in Aden Harbor that were attacked, according to Mr. Bernstein. Obviously, he's mixing up the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania with the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden Harbor.

. . . but that's just the tip of the iceberg . . .

How about page 246, where he refers to the day after September 11 as Wednesday, September 3? There's a good one. I expect more from the New York Times.

. . . but that's just little stuff, right? . . .

Well, then check out pages 201 and 212. In one place, he says that 1,400 people died in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. In another, he says that 1,600 died above the 91st floor alone in Tower 1. Now THIS ISN'T NITPICKING. These aren't just details; just numbers; they're lives. This is an inexcusable mistake. If you are going to take on a subject as important as this one, you had better get some facts straight, particularly this one.

I'm still waiting for the authoritative work on this subject to be published.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I work just a 10 minute walk from Ground Zero, and so, although I was not at work on 9/11/01, what I saw on the TV that entire day will affect me forever. This book deserves the highest rating because it goes far beyond the mere telling of what happened that infamous day. Out of the Blue informs the reader of the complete who, what, where, and why of the day's events, and literally takes the reader through that day as if the reader had been a survivor or a doomed passenger on one of the hijacked planes. One gets thoroughly familiar with the lives and mentality of all the heroes and villains. Contrary to other 9/11/01 books currently available, this is not a simple picture book, it is not just a regurgitation of what happened. It actually puts into perspective an event that just seems inexplicable. On the contrary to a prior review, this book does not rekindle the horror, pain, and hurt. It is not insensitive to the horror of that day. Instead, it makes it easier for the reader to overcome, and better deal with the horror and pain.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Hunter on September 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Out of the Blue (The Story of September 11, 2001 from Jihad to Ground Zero) tries to tackle too much but gets some elements down very well. Richard Bernstein, using his and much of the staff of the New York Times' research over the past year, pieces together the development of recent terrorism and mixes in the personal histories of the hijackers as one theme, while also looking at the personal histories of the victims in the towers and on the planes on that fateful day and before. The terrorist background information is horrifically fascinating and laid out very clearly, which is of great benefit to the reader as the various themes can become confusing. The actual reporting on the events of the day is vivid, clear, and heart-rending. The book is a little weaker on giving the background of the victims as they become very similar in this telling as their similarities as Americans are emphasized. To paraphrase, good people are good in all the same ways but bad people are bad in all different ways. Some of the editing is a little loose at times and certain stock phrases creep into the writing. Still, this is a powerful journalistic account covering the entire sweep of events. Individual books on many of the separate elements would, ultimately, be more helpful but this book provides a sweep and momentum that will carry the reader through this time of history with more knowledge and deep grief.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of the attack on our country on 9/11/01. The story goes all the way back to the late 1980's and originates in Afghanistan. Berstein does a good job of describing how bin Laden and his group of thugs got their grounding in the basics of terrorism. Not only bin Laden but some of the other members (Atta) are described in their early life.
Along with the story of the terrorists, there are stories of some of the victims of 09/11/01. Bernstein does a good job in describing their lives, so we know what America lost in this attack. Unlike other journalists, Berstein gives reasons why the FBI/CIA did not pick up on the attack.
This is a good summary of the attacks and the reasons they originated. The title sums up the surprise Americans felt when the attack came.
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