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The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Authorized Edition, Indexed) Hardcover – October 17, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Authorized Edition, Indexed edition (October 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393060411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393060416
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The result of months of intensive investigations and inquiries by a specially appointed bipartisan panel, The 9/11 Commission Report is one of the most important historical documents of the modern era. And while that fact alone makes it worth owning, it is also a chilling and valuable piece of nonfiction: a comprehensive and alarming look at one of the biggest intelligence failures in history and the events that led up to it. The commission traces the roots of al-Qaeda's strategies along with the emergence of the 19 hijackers and how they entered the United States and boarded airplanes. It details the missed opportunities of law enforcement officials to avert disaster. Using transcripts of cockpit voice recordings, the report describes events on board the planes along with the chaotic reaction on the ground from nearly every level of government. Going forward, the commission calls for a comprehensive overhaul of what it sees as a deeply flawed and disjointed intelligence-gathering operation. The creation of a post for a single National Security Director is recommended, along with the creation of a National Counterterrorism Center. The report finds fault with the approaches of both the Clinton and Bush administrations but, because they were a bipartisan panel and the problems described are so systemic and far-reaching, they stop short of assigning blame to any particular person or group. Credit must be given to how readable the report is. At more than 500 pages, the writing is clear and forceful and the information is made more accessible since it is fre from election politics and rancor. While the commission notes that future attacks are probably inevitable, a coordinated preventive effort along with a clear plan to respond with efficiency can offer Americans some hope in a post-9/11 world. --John Moe --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

With a grave resolve that perfectly balances the enormous stakes with the necessity of delving into minutiae, this historic book describes the mechanics of the horrific attacks on the United States and recommends measures for preventing further strikes. Without trivializing any of the events or diminishing the people involved, it reads like a Shakespearean drama. The authors, with grim but charged dispassion, unspool paragraph after paragraph dramatizing the arrival of "muscle hijackers" (as opposed to pilots), the thinking of CIA director George Tenet (regularly referred to, along with most other players here, simply by last name) and plot co-coordinator Khalid Sheikh Mohammad ("KSM") among thousands of others, and the other ways and means by which a "foreign" incursion caused catastrophic domestic damage. Distilling an enormous amount of information in plain language, with unerring pitch and a perfect feel for when to gloss ("Dubai, a modern city with easy access to a major airport..."), the book's implied narrator sticks as close as possible to how real people made real decisions, and, when stymied in considering a factor or set of factors, is willing to say so. In so doing, this multi-author document produces an absolutely compelling narrative intelligence, one with clarity, a sense of shared mission and an overriding desire to do something about the situation. At the same time, with quotational chapter headings like " 'We Have Some Planes' " and " 'The System Was Blinking Red,' " the authors never forget that they are communicating in a medium that has a lot of stylistic resources for holding one's attention; they draw liberally on the most tried and true. Given what hangs in the balance, it is not a stretch to compare this document to The Federalist Papers, in the sense that the book is designed to foster the debate by which the country will reimagine itself through its bureaucracy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

The 9/11 Commission Report doesn't even read like the report of an investigation.
Enver Masud
I have read several other books by authors that are very succesful at picking this report apart or offering information that was ommited or downplayed.
Challenge yourself to see one of the many documentaries on the subject; many people don't want to know the truth as it hurts the most.
B. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By K. Dunlap on September 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
After reading the first 50 pages or so I began to wonder if I had purchased the wrong book. I wanted the well-written, bi-partisan report I had heard so much about.

Before I get into my criticisms I will point out that the report contains a lot of information and, to a great extent, puts it in a way that reads almost like a novel. It is a long read I fear few will see through to the end. If I am correct, it is a shame because even with its shortcomings it provides a generally good view into many of the significant events of the past quarter-century which led up to the 9/11 tragedy.

Having said that, I will turn my attention to the shortcomings. I listened to most of the televised portion of the hearings and found many discrepancies between what I heard and what I read. I assume that was the result of compromises to achieve unanimity. Unanimity is good, but not at the cost of accuracy. Also, having written many technical reports, I believe I know what to look for when I read one. The attempt to make the report readable results in the use of conversational language which, of course, is not really adequate for describing events and their causes in a truly precise way. Thus, in far too many instances the reader must interpret statements that should be more specific. For example, the report states that a particular document "was read by a tiny number of people." I have no idea how many people make up a "tiny number" in this context.

Most of the book, as one might expect, is a history of the intelligence organizations, their successes and (mostly) failures, and the events leading up to 9/11.
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101 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Roger F. Peters on December 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is by no means a report from an 'independent' investigation. Members on the panel have relations throughout the government, [...]

The entire investigation into 9/11 was hampered from the very beginning. The editor in chief of Fire Engineering Magazine, William Manning, called the investigation a 'half baked farce' in describing the coverup and destruction of evidence which commenced immediately after 9/11.

This book reads like a novel, and to the average person probably makes them feel like they have gained an understanding of 9/11, but in fact this book directly avoided hundreds of questions asked by the 9/11 family steering committee, and failed to answer any of the unknown questions, only to repeat the official story and to attempt to come up with yet another timeline which could cover the differences in the FAA and NORAD timelines.

DO NOT PAY MONEY FOR THIS BOOK. If you want to read it, read it online, do not support such a shoddy 'independent investigation'. If it were a real investigation it would contain a decent index and it would mention WTC7, which it doesn't.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By N. Delaney on February 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reference to the following link provides one the most comprehensive reviews of the events revolving around 9/11. A novice may well be overwhelmed by the complexity of conflicting data, but such is the learning process. It forces the reader/listener to disassociate and open one's mind so that the learning process may begin. 9/11 looms as one of the greatest tragedies this nation has ever experienced and there is every indication that it was self inflicted. Sadly, those institutions established to protect this nation from such events were not only impotent at the time but have failed to initiate concise investigations following, barring the establishment of a Homeland Security in lieu of a preconceived Patriot Act which continues to undermine the Constitution on which this nation was founded. But a precedent has been established, for no public prosecutions have been forth coming, no one has been held accountable, and the policy now bleeds into the financial and corporate sector of society where blatant mismanagement is now rampant. The 9/11 Commission Report, therefore, represents a blatant white wash of the facts and no remarks by participants that the Commission was set up to fail exonerates their failure to address key issues and their omission of relevant testimony. 9/11 The Myth and The Reality - David Ray Griffin - Full [...]
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266 of 378 people found the following review helpful By David R. Griffin on November 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many people have said that this Report "reads like a novel." It is indeed surprisingly good when judged in terms of criteria appropriate to works of fiction. But the 9/11 Commission was supposed to conduct a serious investigation into the question of who was responsible for the attacks of 9/11. Instead, it simply presupposed the official conspiracy theory, according to which the attacks were planned and carried out solely by al-Qaeda. The Commission entirely ignored all evidence for the alternative conspiracy theory, according to which the attacks succeeded only because of complicity by members of the US government.

Having written a book that summarizes much of the evidence supportive of this alternative theory ("The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11"), I read "The 9/11 Commission Report" to see how it handled this evidence. I found that it simply omitted most of it and distorted the rest.

For example, the Report simply repeats the official story about the 19 Arab hijackers, failing to mention that at least six of the named men have shown up alive. It even suggests that Waleed al-Shehri, who visited the US embassy in Morocco after 9/11, stabbed a flight attendant on AA 11 before it hit the North Tower (page 5). This sloppy scholarship proves to be no aberration.

With regard to why jet fighters failed to intercept any of the flights, the Report provides a radically revisionist account of 9/11. Claiming--in contradiction to the timeline provided by NORAD on September 18, 2001--that the FAA never notified the military about Flights 175, 77, and 93 until after they crashed, the Report fails to explain why NORAD had earlier said otherwise.
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