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American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center Paperback – September 11, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
“The one book to read, if you're only reading one.” ―Detroit Free Press
“Slim but powerful . . . truth, unclouded by sentiment.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“One of the most compelling, dramatic, and uplifting pieces of writing you are likely ever to read.” ―St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Extraordinary . . . An amazing piece of journalism, full of colorful characters and astonishing scenes.” ―Peter Carlson, The Washington Post
“Says more about our essential character than a thousand maudlin tributes.” ―Boris Kachka, New York
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Top Customer Reviews
Langewiesche's descriptions of the ruins (along with the wonderful pictures) are chilling: "Most of the rooms (of the Deutsche Bank dining area) had been unoccupied at the time of the attack, and were set for lunch-with fresh place mats, plates, and utensils, and sets of stemmed glasses, some of which had been capsized and broken by the pressure waves and lay now as they had fallen, like everything else here, under a feathery gauze of the Twin Towers' remains." His account of the last minutes of American Airlines Flight 11 and its last conversations with an air-traffic controller in Boston Center are eerie and scary.
The book describes the recovery effort and all the personalities who made it happen, wonderfully. I found myself admiring the soft-spoken demolition expert from North Carolina, David Griffin who, true to the American method, just showed up at the site, proved his merit, and got the job.
I was comforted in a strange sort of way to read that most of the steel recovered from the WTC site was sold as scrap and trucked away to countries such as China, who would put the steel to good use and recycle it. As Langewiesche puts it, "It was a strangely appropriate fate for these buildings, named for just this sort of trade."
In the end, 1.Read more ›
I think the most unexpected part of the book for me was the hard look he took at the actions of the firefighters during the clean up. It was not flattering and for the most part the negative items he reports are not very well known. As you read other reviews this particular item appears to elicit the most emotion. Overall this was a very interesting book. The detail was there and it was well written. My only complaint would be that it was only 200 pages - I would have liked even more detail.
Langewiesche covers “the unbuilding” of the World Trade Center, by which he means specifically the addressing and removal of the enormous pile of debris – including the human remains steadily uncovered – left after the September 11 attacks. In his afterword he notes all the things he didn’t write about, numerous levels of activity in and around the site, such as the cleanup in lower Manhattan, patrolling of the site’s periphery and so on.
It fascinates on several levels. First and foremost is our own tragic and perhaps morbid fascination with the World Trade Center – the tallest buildings in the world when built, the anchors of the New York City skyline, the symbols of American power, whose destruction set the world into a new era of turmoil from which we still have not emerged.
Second is Langewiesche’s unique perspective. From the outset he was given unlimited access, roamed where he wanted, and got to know the principals well enough to write compelling profiles of them.
Thirdly, though, is that the project’s chaotic nature is so distinct from most projects, public or private, but especially public. Work began immediately because of a sense that there were buried survivors who had to be rescued. Only 18 were actually found. But there was no time to make or formalize plans, to take a deep breath after this most terrible of shocks, to regroup.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Probably one of the most informative literary pieces to rise after the attacks of 9/11. It is an extensive objective and subjective work that explains in detail what it might have... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Liz
This book touches on the heroism, heart and strength that came out of this tragic event.Published 18 months ago by Mo B
William Langewiesche is a liar. Capital L, small i, small a, small r, period. The absolutely most charitable explanation is that he passed off unsubstantiated rumor as fact without... Read morePublished 23 months ago by radar
Down played by the guilty , naysayers have there head up their behind if they think the accounts mentioned the missive are made upPublished on June 17, 2014 by jonnimaz
It goes into detail about the search and rescue at the WTC site and the aftermath. IT is a great book to read.Published on June 17, 2014 by Albert R. Grenon
Had to get this book for class, but it was a good read. Very interesting and thought provoking. Not a perfect book, or all encompassing, but an interesting perspective and... Read morePublished on December 17, 2013 by TE
Once i got started this book was tough to put down. I thought the character development and interesting focus on the deconstruction of the twin towers was well done.Published on December 3, 2013 by Kit Frost