3 journalers for this copy...
From the cover -
Of the millions of words written about that unforgettable day, most have been by outsiders. But New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn report solely from the perspective of those struggling to survive inside the towers; 102 Minutes is the epic story of ordinary men and women finding the bravery and courage to overcome unbelievable odds.
Fateful split-second decisions, chance encounters in smoke-filled stairwells, the heroism of the emergency services who climbed up as everyone else was coming down - this is the authoritative account of the men and women in the World Trade Center - the 12,000 who escaped and the 2,749 who perished.
This book was promised to Hyphen8 in the wishlist tag game, so soon will be journeying across the ocean. I'm so glad she "made me" read this book now.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I never made it up to the top of the World Trade Center, but I have a souvenir nonetheless - a blouse I bought from the Banana Republic store in the basement concourse during the summer of 2001. After the events of September 11 that year, it became one of my connections to the tragedy. The next summer a friend and I went and walked around the area a bit; it was still hard to wrap our brains around the enormity of what had happened there, even looking at the dust everywhere and the damage to neighboring buildings.
One thing from this book that stuck in my mind was the weight of the gear the firemen were carrying up the stairs. I know about the Empire State Building stair climb - that always seemed like a huge challenge, but they don't carry fire gear! Yet another reason to respect the first responders and what they do.
It sounds a bit frivolous, but I was reminded of the "choose your adventure" books as I read - where you make a choice and then turn to a certain page to find out what the result is. There were so many people making life-or-death choices without even knowing it that I kept turning to the list in the back of the book to see whether or not they would survive.
Shortly before I read this book, I finished two works of fiction that inspired the movie
"The Towering Inferno"": The Tower and The Glass Inferno. Both books were published in the early 1970s, right around the same time the twin towers were built...and frustratingly, many of the issues that endangered the characters in those stories were factors in the real life disaster on September 11, 2001. The text of 102 Minutes mentions some of the reforms that took place in the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the sinking of the Titanic. I hope that some reforms have also taken place in the wake of the WTC collapse, so that something positive can be said to come from so much tragedy - it sounds like there is a lot of room for improvement in emergency communications as well as safety for tall buildings.
If you're up to it, here's a memorable and thought provoking (if somewhat disturbing) article about one of the people who either jumped or fell from the towers that day. I don't pass judgement on those people because I can't begin to know what it was really like for them, but I think it's important to remember them. The article makes me cry...but I don't think that's altogether a bad thing.