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The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11 Hardcover – September 8, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594488940
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594488948
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,851,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Farmer, senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, updates the commission's report in this thorough and bipartisan analysis. Drawing on newly declassified records and recent investigative reports from the departments of defense and transportation, the author concludes that the failure to detect and prevent the attack lay in the [bureaucratic] nature of modern government. Most significantly, rules proscribing information-sharing within and among agencies meant that no one had complete access to all available intelligence or information—typical bureaucratic inertia that presaged the government's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina. Farmer faults the disconnect between decision-makers and operational employees, concluding that leadership was irrelevant on 9/11 and the official version of events was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue. Farmer's conclusion that bureaucratic government does not adapt fast enough to changing missions to be effective is not original, but in his careful exegesis of the events of 9/11, he transcends easy generalizations to expose the fault lines in contemporary governance and point the way to fundamental reform. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Farmer’s accomplishment is to throw 9/11 into fresh relief. A precise and reliable accounting of what happened has been absent until now. This is it.” –Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times Book Review

“All Americans should read John Farmer’s The Ground Truth.” –Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge

“Inescapably convincing.” –

“An important reexamination… almost thrillerlike in its narrative… As you read it, you may not know whether to laugh or cry.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Startling… compelling… disturbing. Essential.” –Library Journal

“A major, carefully documented, and deeply disturbing book, one that deserves the most serious attention of every American concerned about our future.” –Haynes Johnson, Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author

“Farmer deftly hones in on the nation’s bureaucratic morass leading up to September 11 and the government’s failure to respond on the day of the attacks, distinguishing his book from other accounts.” –The American Prospect

“No one is more qualified to write the definitive book about the tragedy of 9/11 than John Farmer. Fortunately, he has done so. Even more fortunately the language is clear, alive, and instructive for anyone who wants to make certain this never happens again.” –Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator and member of the 9/11 Commission
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

We cannot get an honest answer to that question.
There seemed to be relatively little effort put into expressing a coherent message, and drawing out the most salient details.
Knowing that John Farmer is the senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, I did begin this book being a little "on guard".

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Josh Mitteldorf on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In recent public opinion surveys, roughly half the country believes the official account of what occurred on 9/11/2001 to be substantially true, and half is skeptical. Apparently John Farmer, the man who penned the official 9-11 Commission Report in 2003, is in the latter group. Farmer has written a book as paradoxical as the Government testimony which he picks to pieces: He details one incident after another, meticulously documenting the lies that high government officials told in testimony before his commission. But even after leaving our mouths agape at the mendacity and deception of the Administration (the word `perjury' appears nowhere in the book), he reports unskeptically other parts of the story for which this same Administration was the only source, as if he has no choice but to believe them.

On the surface, the book is a scathing indictment of lethal government incompetence, and of the Bush Administration in particular. It charges ineptitude and a kind of blindness to reality at the highest levels of government. But, to turn a phrase, the book may be praising the Administration with faint damnation. As Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission, Farmer was in as good a position as anyone on the planet to pursue a competent and thorough investigation, to get to the "Ground Truth" behind the terror attacks and the government's response. And yet he chose to play softball, to settle for the testimony that he was offered, and base his conclusions on a partial and contradictory record. The Commission made no use of Congressional subpoena power or the Capitol Police. They did not recall witnesses whose testimony had been discredited.
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149 of 176 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Paul C. Roberts on September 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Most of the reviews of John Farmer's book miss its importance.
Farmer has no way of knowing what happened on 9/11 or who did it.
What he does know and has figured out is that the 9/11 Commission
was lied to by people who were supposed to be helping the Commission
deliver the truth to the public.
Whether the lies were big or little, whether the lies were told to coverup
a false flag operation or to cover the butts of agencies that had failed
in their responsibilities, whether Farmer's explanations for the lies are
correct or incorrect, the fact remains that the Commission was misled.
The conclusion to be drawn is that the Commission's report is unreliable
and, therefore, that we do not have the truth about 9/11.
That this conclusion comes from the legal counsel to the Commission is
compelling evidence that a new investigation is required.
Paul Craig Roberts
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60 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Chad on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you are a student of 9/11 history, you will want this book. John Farmer, the senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission calls into question the honesty of many of the participants engaged in the events surrounding 9/11: NSA advisor Sandy Berger shredding documents; CIA destroying interrogation tapes; General Eberhart, Colonel Marr, General Winfield, and General Arnold all lying about NORAD's timeline; Condi Rice lying about who gave the authority to shoot down a civilian plane; FAA lying about when they gave notice to NORAD and destroying tapes; Richard Clarke lying about the importance of his White House video conference; the "not credible" conclusions of the Department of Transportation Inspector General's report which reviewed the FAA's false accounts and the "frighteningly incompetent" Department of Defense Inspector General's Report on the false statements by the military. It seems almost every person involved in the story of 9/11 lied about the events of that day, according to Farmer.

Well since everyone was promoted and not one person reprimanded, I say, bravo, Mr. Farmer. I appreciate such candor. But don't get too excited, because that is where the candor ends. You will not find in this book any mention of a connection between war games and our inability to defend our airspace. On page 280, Farmer says that the FAA's failure to notify the military for nearly 30 minutes of flight 93 is the greatest institutional failure of 9/11. But where is the discussion of the FAA's false radar blips from war games? Where is the information of who was running war games and how that may have caused our East coast to be defenseless? None of that story is in the book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By N. Delaney on October 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Farmer's book is a critical review of the bureaucratic structure of Washington, relating to the events of 9/11 and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The book has five chapters: 1) focuses on intelligence data collected up to 2001; 2) discusses the interaction of various defense related departments; 3) integrates the collection of intelligence data in the months/days preceding 9/11, 4) discusses the bureaucratic climax to 9/11, and 5) focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Farmer ties these chapters together by analyzing the failure of our bureaucracy to communicate freely among and within departments, and he emphasizes the desire of the Clinton administration to ""change the culture of our national bureaucracy away from complacency and entitlement toward initiative and empowerment"" that went "tragically unrealized in the years, months, weeks, and days leading to 9/11." An Appendix contains a time-line of the hijackers' movements: 1991-2002.

Farmer frequently references The 9/11 Commission, on which he served as Senior Counsel. He stresses the difficulty the Commission had in obtaining information from various defense related agencies, notwithstanding the administration itself, however, he does not object to the "official" explanation of 9/11. Hence, truth can sometimes be misleading when what is reported is documented but fails to include all aspecs of that truth.

A few omissions include: conflict of interests within The 9/11 Commission, the resignation of Congressman McClellan, key testimony from FBI personnel, and reference to the collapse of Building #7. Farmer does not distinguish between the disintegration of Flight 77 and forensic testing that identified all passengers on that flight from DNA analyses!
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