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Variety of books mark first anniversary of Sept. 11
By Ron Berthel, Associated Press
Since Sept. 11, 2001, life has been divided into two distinct periods: before the terrorist attacks and after.
On this first anniversary of the attacks come numerous books that mark the day in various ways. Some have photos depicting the attacks' effects and the aftermath. Others recall the day through accounts of what people saw and felt. Some books remember the victims, while others honor the heroes.
Although one book's title reminds us to "Never Forget," it seems unlikely that anyone could erase the memory of that clear, sunny, late-summer morning when terrorism came to America -- and four hijacked airliners crashed, skyscrapers burned and collapsed, and some 3,000 people were killed.
For three and a half months following the attacks, The New York Times ran a special daily section called "A Nation Challenged" with stories related to the attacks and the subsequent war in Afghanistan. That section, which won a Pulitzer Prize for public service, is the basis of the large-format book, "A Nation Challenged: A Visual History of 9-11 and Its Aftermath" (Callaway).
In text, graphics and 250 color photos, the book covers many aspects of the attacks: the hijackers' preparations, world reaction, the rescue and recovery efforts, memorial services, the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the defeat of the Taliban, the Osama bin Laden manhunt and the anthrax scare.
Eyewitness accounts and tributes to heroes are among the features of
"One Nation: America Remembers September 11, 2001" (Little, Brown) by Life magazine. The book features color photos throughout and pieces by several writers, including Maya Angelou, Gordon Parks, David McCullough, Bob Greene and Thomas Keneally. An illustrated chronology of Sept. 11 takes readers from 5:45 a.m., when two of the hijackers passed through airport security in Portland, Maine, to 10:21 p.m., when President Bush went to bed after attending a security meeting.
A sequel to "One Nation" is "The American Spirit: Meeting the Challenge of September 11" (Life Books). With an introduction by Bush, the book chronicles the months following the attacks. Sections include "Reclaiming Ground Zero," a series of aerial photos showing the eight-month progress of the WTC site cleanup; "Rudy Giuliani's Year," which profiles New York's then-mayor; and "Hallowed Ground," with photos of the three crash sites.
The prelude to the attacks gets attention in "Out of the Blue: The Story of September 11, 2001, From Jihad to Ground Zero" (Times Books) by Richard Bernstein and the staff of The New York Times. Topics include the origins of Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan, the emergence of bin Laden as a political radical, the evolution of al-Qaida, and the indoctrination and training of the hijackers.
In "September 11: A Testimony" (Pearson), the staff of Reuters news agency has assembled more than 200 color images that record Sept. 11 and the days that followed.
In one, a man in a crowd of bystanders points to the twin towers, smoke billowing from them. Bush speaks outside the damaged Pentagon in one photo, while another shows him, bullhorn in hand, atop the rubble at ground zero -- "... the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." A "wanted" poster in New York bears bin Laden's name and image. And a young woman, head bowed, rests a single red rose upon her forehead during a prayer vigil at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 23.
Similar in style also from Reuters, "After September 11: New York and the World" (Pearson) chronicles the months following the attacks -- rescue rebuilding and recovery at home, and developments in Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan.
"Stepping Through the Ashes" (Aperture) features 100 stark black-and-white photos by Eugene Richards: makeshift "missing" posters cover a wall; a huge metal claw is poised above a pile of rubble that once was a building; and a sidewalk vendor offers pictures of the pre-Sept. 11 New York skyline.
"Above Hallowed Ground" (Viking Studio) is a large-format book with first-time published photos by the New York Police Department, from the air and the ground. Aerial views show the twin towers engulfed in smoke and flames, and later, all of Lower Manhattan shrouded by a thick black cloud. Street scenes show piles of debris and toppled walls, and firefighters, police officers and rescue workers on the scene.
"Pilgrimage: Looking at Ground Zero" (PowerHouse) offers 75 black-and-white photos by Kevin Bubriski showing the reaction of visitors to the WTC site during the weeks following the attacks. People are seen embracing, shielding their eyes or wiping them, covering their mouths, staring in awe, or aiming a camera of their own.
"Faces of Ground Zero" (Little, Brown) features Life magazine photographer Joe McNally's larger-than-life images of Sept. 11 heroes -- firefighters and police, rescue workers and medical workers, and neighborhood students, workers and residents.
In "Lamentation: 9-11" (Planned Television Arts), E.L. Doctorow's text accompanies David Finn's 96 color photos of the many sites around New York in which makeshift "missing" posters were displayed, many accompanied by candles and flowers.
"Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11, 2001" (ReganBooks) by Mitchell Fink and Lois Mathias is based on interviews with 81 people who lived through the WTC attacks and remain deeply affected in its aftermath.
"September 11: An Oral History" (Doubleday) by Dean E. Murphy, who covered the story for The New York Times, provides 40 eyewitness accounts -- people who worked in or near the WTC and Pentagon, rescue workers, and some who narrowly missed being victims.
"Longitudes & Attitudes" (FSG) by Thomas L. Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, collects his columns relating to the attacks and a diary of his personal feelings while he was reporting. In
"Covering Catastrophe" (Bonus), edited by Allison Gilbert et al., more than 100 broadcast journalists, including Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, reveal how they felt while reporting the attacks.
"110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11" (NYU Press), edited by Ulrich Baer, offers the reactions of Paul Auster, Edwidge Danticat, Liz Swados and 107 other writers, in fiction, essays and poetry. Writers, reporters and everyday people offer their impressions in
"Afterwords: Stories and Reports from 9-11 and Beyond" (Washington Square Press), compiled by the editors of salon.com. Twenty-five young reporters from The New York Times, Fox News, Reuters and other news organizations provide firsthand accounts of what it was like to cover the story in "At Ground Zero" (Thunder's Mouth Press), edited by Chris Bull and Sam Erman.
"Out of the Ruins: A New York Record" (Gingko Press) is a diary-size album of 74 watercolors by Jean Holabird, who lives near the WTC site and chronicled its dismantling.
Firefighters and other heroes
The WTC attacks killed 343 New York firefighters. In "Strong of Heart" (ReganBooks), Thomas von Essen, New York's fire commissioner during the attacks, offers a firsthand account of Sept. 11 at ground zero and of the months that followed: the rescue efforts, cleanup and funerals. Twelve of those 343 firefighters came from Engine 40-Ladder 35; their story is told in
"Firehouse" (Hyperion) by David Halberstam.
Other heroes at ground zero are profiled in "Heart of a Soldier" (Simon & Schuster), James B. Stewart's story about Rick Rescorla, 62, a WTC worker who lost his life saving others;
"Report From Ground Zero" (Viking), retired New York firefighter Dennis Smith's chronicle of the first three months of rescue efforts; and "Women at Ground Zero" (Alpha) by Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba, which profiles 33 female police officers, firefighters and emergency workers who contributed to the rescue effort.
In "Among the Heroes" (HarperCollins), New York Times reporter Jere Longman reconstructs the events aboard the fourth hijacked plane, United Flight 93, which was commandeered by passengers and crashed in a Pennsylvania field before it could reach the hijackers' target.
"American Lives" (Camino) by the staff of Newsday and the Tribune Co. has profiles and photos of more than 200 victims from all four crashes.
"The Day the World Came to Town" (ReganBooks) by Jim Defede takes place in quiet Gander, Newfoundland, where the forced landing of 38 jetliners on Sept. 11 brought the town 6,000 unexpected guests.
WTC, past and future
The World Trade Center lives on in "Men of Steel" (Crown) by Karl Koch III with Richard Firstman. Koch, whose firm erected the towers' steel framework and flooring, describes his company's role in the construction.
In "Eleven: Witnessing the World Trade Center 1974-2001" (Universe), 110 photos by Contact Press Images document the tragedy of the 110-story towers' collapse and celebrate their life in images made throughout the years and from many perspectives.
"Twin Towers" (New American Library) is a paperback edition of Angus Kress Gillespie's 1999 book about the buildings' construction and daily activity, now updated with photos and text about their demise.
On a more hopeful note comes "A New World Trade Center" (ReganBooks) by Max Protech, which features color illustrations of proposals for rebuilding on the WTC site by 58 international architects from around the world.
Among the concepts: reconstructing the towers as arches; a single building covering the site but with hollow shafts where the twin towers stood; and a complex that includes a domed memorial and a pedestrian bridge across the Hudson River to New Jersey.