'The Only Plane In The Sky' Offers A Powerful, Graphic Narrative Of 9/11
Added 09-11-19 10:06:07am EST - “When today's children someday ask "What was 9/11 really like?," Garrett Graff's book will be the answer: He vividly recounts the most upsetting and totemic moments ?" and critical, little-told others.” - Npr.org
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One of the more jarring moments of parenthood came when I did a simple math problem. My son was born 17 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. So what, I wondered, would the historical parallel be for me, compared to him?
That is to say, what major news story had happened 17 years before I was born, and how immediate or distant did it feel to me?
The rough equivalent, I discovered, was the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In other words, for him, 9/11 will likely feel like ancient history. Something to think about and be sad about, but something that nevertheless lives in books and documentaries.
That idea is likely incomprehensible to any adult who lived through the attacks, even if their experience was that of a passive television watcher. Like so many other people, I can still remember exact moments, exact feelings, from that day. But for millions and millions of Americans — even people now serving in the military and going to college — 9/11 was something that happened before they were born.
The passage of time has led to a new wave of books aimed at preserving and telling the story of 9/11 itself. Not a broad history of terrorism, or what happened in America before and after 9/11, but the terror and the confusion and the raw emotional collapse of the day itself. Among the most powerful entries in this new canon: The Only Plane In The Sky, a visceral oral history of the attacks written by Garrett Graff.
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