The only plane in the sky : an oral history of 9/11

2019, Book , xxii, 483 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates :
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Summary/Review: Journalist and historian Garrett Graff tells the story of September 11, 2001 as it was lived, in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on transcrip more...
Summary/Review: Journalist and historian Garrett Graff tells the story of September 11, 2001 as it was lived, in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints a vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks. Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York City, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker underneath the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard the small number of unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United Flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid. More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, this is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son working in the North Tower, caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from rushing into the burning building to try to rescue their colleagues. A tribute to the courage of everyday Americans, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama on a day that changed the course of history and all of our lives.
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