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Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on America Hardcover – August 5, 2002

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Frank, a reporter for Time magazine, opens his informative if uneven narrative with a chilling account of his experiences on September 11, when he rushed from his Brooklyn Heights home to the scene of the disaster just after the first of the Twin Towers was hit. Using a question-and-answer format, the author then effectively distills for young readers information about the Middle East (especially Afghanistan), Islam, Islamism, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. He also discusses terrorist groups' hatred of America and their campaigns against it. Frank's writing is at times confusing or sloppy. He notes, "Many people said the whole world changed on September 11th. It didn't. America woke up in those two hours and suddenly saw the world in a different light." Yet on the following page, this statement appears: "On September 11th, the world changed in two hours." However, the book delves into pertinent topics in reasonable depth. Readers may find here a useful framework for examining the possible motives for the terrorist attacks and the U.S. government's subsequent responses. Illustrations include photographs and maps; final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-A Time magazine reporter uses a journalistic approach to organize his information. Who were the hijackers? What is Islam? Why did the terrorists target the U.S.? Why did we go after Afghanistan? And so on. Although the answers are not footnoted, the bibliography is organized by chapters, so readers can see that Bernard Lewis's The Middle East (Scribner, 1995), Thomas Lippman's Understanding Islam (Meridian, 1995), and Don Belt's The World of Islam (National Geographic, 2001) informed the author's thinking, as did current periodicals. He offers fairly in-depth explanations of how Islam and terrorism diverge and when they come together, providing historical background, biography, and descriptions of important texts, such as the Qur'an and the Encyclopedia of Jihad. He presents an empathetic picture of Middle Eastern resentments. He is blunt in laying out the religious, political, and economic reasons for U.S. interest in the region and passionate about civil liberties. Black-and-white photographs, insets, maps, an index, and a glossary that includes a number of Muslim terms provide additional assistance.
Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (August 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670035823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670035823
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,523,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on August 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a teacher of adolescents, I often find myself unable to answer their "Why?" questions about the state of world affairs. This book gave me a deeper understanding of the history and issues underlying the events of September 11. Mr. Frank presents the information concisely and unsentimentally -- a difficult feat given the emotional import of the subject matter. I found it immensely informative and will undoubtedly refer to it during this school year as the first anniversary approaches and passes.
I'm also the mother of a two-year-old girl, and I've felt at a loss as to how to explain the attacks to her when the time comes. By the time she is of grade-school age, her social studies texts will definitely contain references to September 11. I now plan to read Mr. Frank's book with her to give her all the background information she could possibly need, and to share with her my husband's and my memories of that terrible day.
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Mr. Frank has swallowed the whole barrel of government Kool Aid. He cites no evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the crimes of 9/11, because there is none. He tells the children who are his main intended readership that certain Arabs planned and coreographed 9/11 when there have never been any criminal indictments or trials to prove that premise, and so, without even any evidence of that, we cannot infer as much and still remain faithful to our creed demanding due process and presuming innocence until guilt has been proven -- and here, it hasn't even been formally charged! And, there are other suspicions, actually backed by LOTS OF evidence, as to who really planned and carried out 9/11. Are we, of all people, not concerned to follow the evidence when a crime (especially a horrible mass murder) has been committed in our midst? Mitch Frank's "blame the Arabs" refrain is not the right answer, and ought not be urged on America's children!
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