9/11: 20 Years, 10 Books

A Look into 10 of Most Popular Non-fiction Books on 9/11
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On the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many American publishing houses issued lists of the books they published about the attacks, and about issues that related to the attacks.

Some sources said that the total number of the books approached a thousand.

Wikipedia divided the books into fiction and non-fiction, then subdivided the fiction into novels, graphic novels, short novels and children’s novels. It subdivided the non-fiction into memoirs, first-hand accounts, historical, religious, economic, military, social, and scientific and comics. It also listed books about the books and the literature that related to 9/11.

These are short quotations from ten of the most popular non-fiction works:

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1.“Ghost Wars,” Steve Coll (2004): 

HOW? WHY?

“It is for now far easier for a researcher to explain how and why September 11 happened than it is to explain the aftermath …Clinton regarded bin Laden as an isolated fanatic, flailing dangerously but quixotically against the forces of global progress … The Bush team was fixated on great-power politics, missile defense and China.”

 

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2. “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,” Lawrence Wright (2006): IGNORANCE:

“The most frightening aspect of this new threat … was the fact that almost no one took it seriously. It was too bizarre, too primitive and. exotic … The most elemental question that we were all asking after 9/11. The level of our cultural ignorance is hard to overstate, even my own. Even though I had spent time in the Middle East and had written this movie, I still was left with many riddles that I needed to unscramble.”

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3. “Against All Enemies,” Richard Clarke (2004):

A CRUSADE?

“America, alas, seems only to respond well to disasters, to be undistracted by warnings … Our country seems unable to do all that must be done until there has been some awful calamity … (On Iraq Invasion): Bush handed that enemy precisely what it wanted and needed, proof that America was at war with Islam, that we were the new Crusaders come to occupy Muslim land.”

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4. “102 Minutes,” Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn (2011):

THE BUILDINGS:

“The ferocity of the attacks meant that innocent people lived or died because they stepped back from a doorway, or hopped onto a closing elevator, or simply shifted their weight from one foot to another … It is likely that a very different world trade center would have been built. (But this one) increased the floor space available for rent by cutting back on the areas that had been devoted, under the earlier law, to evacuation and exit.”

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5. “Bush at War,” Bob Woodward (2002):

RUSSIAN LESSON:

“CIA Counterterrorism Center Director Cofer Black and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage traveled to Moscow shortly after 9/11 to give officials a heads up about the coming hostilities in Afghanistan. The Russians, recent visitors to the graveyard of empires, cautioned that Afghanistan was an ‘ambush heaven’, and that, in the words of one of them, ‘you’re really going to get the hell kicked out of you.’ Cofer responded confidently: ‘We’re going to kill them. . .  We’re going to rock their world.’”

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6. “The Dark Side,” Jane Mayer (2008):

LEGALITY:

“Beginning almost immediately after September 11, 2001, Vice President Cheney saw to it that some of the sharpest and best-trained lawyers in the country, working in secret in the White House and the United States Department of Justice, came up with legal justifications for a vast expansion of the government’s power in waging war on terror.”

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7. “The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable,” David Cole (2009):

THE TORTURING:

“CIA agents and contractors, in addition to using ’authorized’ and previously reported tactics as waterboarding, wall-slamming, forced nudity, stress positions, and extended sleep deprivation … (also) threatening suspects with a revolver and a power drill; repeatedly applying pressure to a detainee’s carotid artery until he began to pass out; staging a mock execution; (and) threatening to sexually abuse a suspect’s mother.”

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8. “To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq,” Robert Draper (2020):

IRAQ INVASION:

“Bush needed little convincing: he had ordered up Iraq war plans only two months after the Sept. 11 attacks. The rush to war was driven by fear, not hard intelligence, and by imagination, not facts … Bush warned, in October 2002, that ‘we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.’”

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9. “Reign of Terror,” Spencer Ackerman (2021):

TRUMP:

“Trump’s great insight was that the jingoistic politics of the War on Terror did not have to be tied to the War on Terror itself. That enabled him to tell a tale of lost greatness … The backlash against Muslims, against immigrants crossing the southern border and against protesters rallying for racial justice was strengthened by the open-ended nature of the global war on terror … Trump had learned the foremost lesson of 9/11 was that the terrorists were whomever you said they were.”

 

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10. “9/11 Commission Report” (2004):

HISTORY LESSONS:

“The U.S. government must define what the message is, what it stands for. We should offer an example of moral leadership in the world, committed to treating people humanely, abide by the rule of law, and be generous and caring to our neighbors …  We need to defend our ideals abroad vigorously. America does stand up for its values … As time passes, more documents become available, and the bare facts of what happened become still clearer. Yet the picture of how those things happened becomes harder to reimagine, as that past world, with its preoccupations and uncertainty, recedes.”

 

Read more:

Saudi Arabia Strips Osama bin Laden's Son of Citizenship

How a Courier's Phone Call Led to the Killing of Osama bin Ladin

The Afghanistan War in Hollywood


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