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Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11 [Hardcover]

Damon DiMarco , Thomas Kean
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 2007 1595800212 978-1595800213 2nd
Damon DiMarco's Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11 eternally preserves a monumental tragedy in American history through the voices of the people who were in Lower Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City on that fateful day.

The stories DiMarco has collected come from a diverse group of human beings: individuals who managed to escape from the Towers; the bereaved of 9/11; the policemen, firemen, paramedics, reporters, and volunteers who risked their lives to help others; eyewitnesses who stood in shock on the streets below the Towers; WTC structural engineers, political experts, political dissidents, small business owners, and, of course, children whose lives will be forever impacted by the horror and chaos they witnessed.

In the tradition of Studs Terkel, DiMarco's moving oral history chronicles the stories of everyone from the small group of people who miraculously made it safely down from the 89th floor of Tower 1 to the New York Times reporter trying desperately to fight her way through the fleeing crowds into Lower Manhattan, to the paramedic who set up a triage area 200 yards from the base of the Towers before they collapsed to the ordinary citizens of New York City who tried to get on with their lives in the days following the tragic event.

This expanded second edition of DiMarco's literary time capsule includes follow-up interviews that track contributors' lives in the years since 9/11, as well as dozens of never-before-published photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The only widely available oral history of 9/11 from the perspective of New Yorkers, this monumental work (originally released by Revolution in 2004) has been updated for the sixth anniversary of the national tragedy. In the weeks following the World Trade Center attack, DiMarco, in the tradition of Studs Terkel, wandered Manhattan collecting the stories of Gothamites who survived the collapse of the towers, came to help or simply bore witness-whether from elsewhere in the city, across the country or overseas. Two major themes emerge, the first concerning the heroism of common decency: Florence Engoran, five months pregnant on the day of the attack, was helped down 55 flights of stairs by near-strangers, "two men who promised that they were gonna stay with me the whole time down, which they did." In the same vein, Jan Demczur relates how he used his window washing tools to save himself and an elevator full of people, and Dr. Walter Gerasimowicz tells of the men who aided him when he was forced to evacuate without his crutches. The rigors of loss and mourning make a second theme: Patrick Charles Welsh, whose wife perished on Flight 93, says, "I was so devastated by this unheard cry of souls... This moan of humanity going straight up to heaven." Though a good idea, the scholarly essays that close the book, concerning the U.S.-Middle East relations, feel off-puttingly distant compared to the stories that precede them. DiMarco's contribution to the memory of that horrific day is enormous; the testimonies collected here form an amazing, one-of-a-kind account. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Arguably the most successful attempt at capturing the enormity of the events of 9/11, Damon DiMarco's sprawling oral history [presents] human stories . . .with a raw candor a thousand times more affecting than any cold statistic offered by a commission . . . a riveting and disarmingly emotional read." -- MSNBC Today

". . .heart-breaking reminiscences by New Yorkers who survived the attack and then endured a decade of denial, doubt, and rebuilding." -- The New York Times

"Arguably the most successful attempt at capturing the enormity of the events of 9/11, Damon DiMarco's sprawling oral history runs a wide gamut of testimony from survivors, responders, witnesses and people whose lives were forever altered by the attacks . . . a riveting and disarmingly emotional read." -- MSNBC Today

". . .heart-breaking reminiscences by New Yorkers who survived the attack and then endured a decade of denial, doubt, and rebuilding." -- The New York Times

"The material it offers is unique, a multitude of firsthand experiences preserved as few other 9/11 books have done."  —Library Journal

"Humanizes stark fact and grants us the priceless opportunity to reach our own understanding of the event we must never forget."  —Bill Baroni, New Jersey General Assembly, 14th legislative district

"This is oral history at its finest."  —The Richmond Post-Dispatch

"This volume defends the understanding, as also the horror, of that day. We are indebted to Mr. DiMarco for the effort and for the editorial acuity."  —William F. Buckley

"I hope this book remains in print for a very long time to come, because everyone should read it. Our children should read it. With regard to 9/11, we—as a people—cannot allow a myth to take root. We must ground ourselves in our pain if we have any hope of moving forward. And move forward we must."  —Thomas Kean, chairman, 9/11 Commission

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press; 2nd edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595800212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595800213
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Damon DiMarco was born in Princeton, New Jersey and currently lives in New York City. He holds a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Rutgers University.

Damon has been a guest on national television and radio, including FOX, CNN, The National Geographic Channel, and the Premiere Radio Network. He has been a guest speaker at colleges, universities, and community groups across the country.

A professional actor as well as a writer, Damon has appeared in primetime and daytime television programs on CBS, ABC, and NBC; commercials; independent films; regional theatres; and trade shows. He has written for the stage, television, and screen, and taught acting on the faculties of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and the New York Film Academy in Manhattan. He teaches writing to PhD students in the History and Culture program at Drew Univesity's Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

For more information, visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tower Stories January 24, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It has always been a passion of mine to listen to the stories of my fellow man. While watching the horrific events that unfolded on September 11, I felt a need to hear the people's accounts, the voices of the men and woman who were involved personally. Tower Stories, An Oral History of 9/11 has collaborated a collection of reports that tells how the citizens of lower Manhattan coped during the attacks on the Word Trade Centre. It also shows the loyalty of those individuals living in New York City, who stepped up and volunteered their services in any way they could. The stories come from a diverse group of individuals, each with different views and opinions. Tower Stories, An oral History of 9/11 by Damon DiMarco is a must read novel and I for one will keep this book on my shelf so the coming generations in my family will learn and grow from this tragedy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome History October 25, 2007
This book is an awesome look into what really happened with People who were involved with the Towers. It is very touching and inspirational as well. I would recommend this to even go into schools for future children to understand more about the Awful time in our history. Excellent
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting first-person accounts of 9/11 November 15, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
With the opening of the Freedom Tower next year, I thought I should finally read first-hand accounts of the 9/11 attacks. Despite the passage of time, I've been unable to revisit that horrible day. I was close enough to the city to see the columns of black smoke, spent days (and in some cases, weeks) in agonizing worry not knowing whether friends and co-workers in the Towers and World Financial Center were alive, and then months reading the heartbreaking Portraits of Grief series in the New York Times.

Damon DiMarco talked with people immediately after the attacks, literally walking the streets and stopping passersby. The accounts he records have the ring of authenticity and immediacy. The author is channeling his inner Studs Terkel here! The stories read exactly as people talk, although I'm sure a great deal of editing was required. The author is a fine writer who has made a valuable contribution to 9/11 literature.

Although difficult to read, the book is one I am glad to have read. Toward the end of the book, my attention flagged, though, as the accounts widen out to include people whose stories seemed peripheral to me. After mourning the endlessly horrific ways people died, I didn't really care about the structural beauty of the Towers as expounded by an engineer, how Verizon got the stock market back up and running or the viewpoint of someone who was in L.A. at the time. And I really didn't want to read ruminations on the ethics of profiling airline passengers in the days immediately following the attacks.

I also had hoped for more insightful follow-up interviews.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for everyone October 11, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this book over the course of two weeks. I found that I could not sleep for several nights. It brought back memories of what I was doing at the time that the news broke (I was at work and puzzled as to how a plane could crash into one of the Twin Towers). I naturally assumed it was a small private plane and maybe the pilot had some type of medical emergency. I finally got up and went into the area where the televisions were located and there among many other employees watched that terrible day unfold. None of us could believe what we were seeing. I had butterflies in my stomach for an entire year as it was one of the most shocking events to happen in my lifetime. Tower stories is an account of what those that were there experienced and the very personal stories about loved ones who perished. This is a book that should be read by all. We must never forget nor let future generations forget what happened that day and the sacrifices that were made to save others. We all know of the compromised health of so many of those who were there sacrificing their time and efforts to find survivors and who worked among so much toxic materials. The long-term effects of that day and the days that followed is ongoing. I have answered questions from my 8- year old grandson who is aware of what happened that day but not the true human stories of loss. That will come later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great June 7, 2011
some of the interviews I had issues with or did get so to speak, but over all an incredible collection of interviews from people who survived, helped during or had someone die during 9/11. The last section called viewpoints I felt could have been left out. Just my viewpoint however.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book! September 13, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Absolutely one of the best 9/11 books out there. I purchased it for my Kindle in the morning - couldn't put it down all day. I will reread this book every 9/11 anniversary from now on.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An absolutely beautiful and moving tribute. I lost a friend that day and it bought her experiences (unfortunately) to life. A must-read for every American!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Honest January 11, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book put it all together, without being gruesome. The author was very sensitive and caring in his narration. I will definately reccomend this to my friends.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This is a "must read" if you are interested in 9/11 stories. Who can tell a story better than those that lived through it?
Published 15 months ago by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!!!
Riveting accounts of what really happened! I couldn't put it down yet it was hard to read at times. I would have to stop and brace myself for what the witness had to say.
Published 19 months ago by Zipper
5.0 out of 5 stars Great account of 9/11
I have read many books and articles, as well as seen dvds, of 9/11, and this is one of the best, all-around, reports. Read more
Published on January 6, 2012 by R. Sorum
5.0 out of 5 stars Tower Stories
Very moving, can only read a few stories at a time. Great book, would recommend to anyone. Makes me realize how much I am grateful for.
Published on November 28, 2011 by CAB
5.0 out of 5 stars Tower stories review
Absolutely fascinating read....sad happy enlightening so much info about the aftermath you would never dream about....a must read for anyone who is interested in 9/11
Published on October 26, 2011 by Jenny b
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book
It will take me a while to read this, not because it is too wordy but because it is too close to home. Thanks for offering this at such a great price. Read more
Published on October 19, 2011 by Bonne amie
3.0 out of 5 stars inaccurate?
I have not read the book yet, I just looked at the preview. It bothers me that there is an inaccuracy in the very beginning of the book, in the timeline of events. Read more
Published on July 2, 2011 by Flemington reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Argument Review
Hello i am a Vetren of the war and a proud supporter of are troops. Many people do not relize what September 11 means,

to me it is a special day to honor the troops and... Read more
Published on January 10, 2011 by SS
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