Remembering 9/11

Image from on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

Today is the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the crash of diverted United Flight 93.  In remembrance of these events and the victims and survivors of the attacks we have compiled a list of some of the fiction and non-fiction titles from the library’s collection examining the events leading up to the attacks, the experience of them, and the aftermath for the entire nation.  If you’re interested in finding more books on this topic, please ask a librarian.

102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn

A National Book Award finalist, 102 Minutes tells the story of the collapse of the Twin Towers from the perspective of those that were there inside them.  A dramatic and harrowing account painstakingly complied from thousands of phone and emergency radio transcripts, oral histories, and interviews both with survivors and rescuers, this story takes a unique and moving look at the tragedy and heroism of 9/11 from inside the World Trade Center.


Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, percussionist, romantic, jeweler, detective, and collector of butterflies, among other things.  When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Oskar sets out to find the lock that fits a key he discovers in his father’s closet.  As he searches through the five boroughs of New York, he meets a strange assortment of people, all of whom are also survivors in their own way, and their stories of love and loss accompany Oskar as he travels not just through New York, but also on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.


One Nation by Life Magazine

This book chronicles the experience of the United States as a whole during and shortly after 9/11 using photographs of the tragedies and the reactions of Americans around the country as well as essays from notable writers.  With profiles of both victims and rescuers in addition to the photographs and essays, this book paints a visual portrait of the tragedy and heroism of an entire nation.


The Submission by Amy Waldman

Waldman reimagines the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in this well-received novel, where a jury in Manhattan gathers to select a memorial for 9/11.  When they open the envelope that contains the name of the artist of the anonymously selected work, they find that it is Mohammad Khan, an American Muslim.  Claire Burwell, a member of the jury, a 9/11 widow, and the staunchest supporter of Khan and his design, immediately encounters the tension-fraught reactions of her companions on the jury, politicians, the media, and ultimately, of the entire nation.


The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright

Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the events leading to the 9/11 terrorist attacks is an engaging and well-researched look into the lives of both Taliban leaders and espionage and FBI figures.  He examines the rise of militant Islamic movements and organizations as well as the climate of the United States and world intelligence agencies proceeding 9/11 and how both of these contributed to the 9/11 attacks.  Based on five years of research and interviews in countries all over the world, this is an exhaustive and fascinating look at how such a tragedy came to be.