“A document of historic sweep and almost unprecedented detail.”—Washington Post
Published for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, this new edition of the authorized report is limited to the Commission’s riveting account—which was a finalist for the National Book Award—of the attack and its background, examining both the attackers and the U.S. government, the emergency response, and the immediate aftermath. It includes new material from Philip Zelikow, the Commission’s executive director, on the Commission’s work, the fate of its recommendations, and the way this struggle has evolved right up to the present day.
With a grave resolve that perfectly balances the enormous stakes with the necessity of delving into minutiae, this historic book describes the mechanics of the horrific attacks on the United States and recommends measures for preventing further strikes. Without trivializing any of the events or diminishing the people involved, it reads like a Shakespearean drama. The authors, with grim but charged dispassion, unspool paragraph after paragraph dramatizing the arrival of "muscle hijackers" (as opposed to pilots), the thinking of CIA director George Tenet (regularly referred to, along with most other players here, simply by last name) and plot co-coordinator Khalid Sheikh Mohammad ("KSM") among thousands of others, and the other ways and means by which a "foreign" incursion caused catastrophic domestic damage. Distilling an enormous amount of information in plain language, with unerring pitch and a perfect feel for when to gloss ("Dubai, a modern city with easy access to a major airport..."), the book's implied narrator sticks as close as possible to how real people made real decisions, and, when stymied in considering a factor or set of factors, is willing to say so. In so doing, this multi-author document produces an absolutely compelling narrative intelligence, one with clarity, a sense of shared mission and an overriding desire to do something about the situation. At the same time, with quotational chapter headings like " 'We Have Some Planes' " and " 'The System Was Blinking Red,' " the authors never forget that they are communicating in a medium that has a lot of stylistic resources for holding one's attention; they draw liberally on the most tried and true. Given what hangs in the balance, it is not a stretch to compare this document to The Federalist Papers, in the sense that the book is designed to foster the debate by which the country will reimagine itself through its bureaucracy.
What a crock
What about the explosive residue? this book didnt even mention Nano Thermite! Attention to detail? Good one WaPo!