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September 11 Book List

Books and resources to help understand the events of September 11, 2001.

August 26, 2021

Berlin-Peck librarians have compiled a list to help understand the events of September 11, 2001, including biographies and memoirs, non-fiction, graphic novels, movies, and fiction.

 

Online Resources

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York remembers and honors the people killed in the horrific attacks of September 11, as well as those who risked their lives to save others and all who demonstrated extraordinary compassion in the aftermath of the attacks. The museum’s online resources include interactive timelines9/11 primer, and oral histories.

Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive
The 9/11 Television News Archive is a library of news coverage of the events of 9/11/2001 and their aftermath as presented by U.S. and international broadcasters. A resource for scholars, journalists, and the public, it presents one week of news broadcasts for study, research and analysis.

The September 11 Digital Archive
The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. The Archive contains more than 150,000 digital items, including emails and other electronic communications, first-hand stories, and digital images.

September 11, 2001, Documentary Project
The September 11, 2001 Documentary Project is a Library of Congress collection that captures the reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93.

 

 

Biography and Memoir

The man I never met

The Man I Never Met

Adam Schefter

The influential ESPN personality describes how his wife lost her first husband during the World Trade Center attacks, how he bonded with his young stepson, and how their family has made September 11 an anniversary of hope and healing.

Thunder dog

Thunder Dog
The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero

Michael Hingson

Recounts the events of September 11, 2001 as a blind man, trusting in his guide dog, escapes from the World Trade Center’s north tower.

Unmeasured strength

Unmeasured Strength

Lauren Manning

Traces the decade-long recovery journey of a September 11 survivor who suffered burns on more than 80 percent of her body, describing her experiences during the attacks and the ways she needed to change to renew her commitments to life and her loved ones.

Where you left me

Where You Left Me

Jennifer Gardner Trulson

Recounts the author’s journey through heartbreak and healing after tragically losing her husband during the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, describing her efforts as a single mother, her changing relationships with friends and family and her unexpected subsequent marriage.

Your father's voice

Your Father’s Voice
Letters for Emmy About Life With Jeremy—And Without Him After 9/11

Lyz Glick, Dan Zegart

A tribute to one of the heroes of Flight 93, written by his widow in the form of letters to their baby daughter, relates the dreams he had for his family, his last cell phone conversation with his wife from the hijacked plane, and his decision to help storm the cockpit.

 

Non-Fiction

September 11

September 11
An Oral History

Dean E. Murphy

In a tribute to the fallen heroes of September 11, 2001, a former firefighter provides an eyewitness record of events at Ground Zero and the extraordinary efforts of police, fire, and emergency medical teams.

102 minutes

102 Minutes
The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

Jim Dwyer, Kevin Flynn

Recounts how the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center brought together four thirty-something women whose husbands died in the tragedy, explaining how their special friendship became a source of hope, solace, empathy, and joy.

The 9/11 Commission report

The 9/11 Commission Report
Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States

Offers a photographic account of the events of September 11, 2001, the rescue efforts in the days following the attacks, and the response of a nation united in sadness, pride, and resolve.

Above hallowed ground

Above Hallowed Ground
A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001

Photographers of the New York City Police Department

A dramatic eyewitness chronicle of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, this moving collection brings together forty first-person accounts by individuals affected by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, from rescue workers who rushed to the scene of the tragedy, to survivors of the carnage, to nearby citizens who witnessed the disaster.

After

After
How America Confronted the September 12 Era

Steven Brill

Considers how the United States has changed after September 11, recounting events in the White House, Capitol corridors, military training centers, and civilian homes to reveal how the nation is recovering and defending itself.

Aftermath

Aftermath

Joel Meyerwitz

A panoramic oral history of the September 11 attacks draws on hundreds of interviews with government officials, first responders, survivors, friends and family members to recount events from the perspectives of firsthand witnesses.

American ground, unbuilding the World Trade Center

American Ground, Unbuilding the World Trade Center

William Langewiesche

Relates the life of Rick Rescorla, a former soldier and the head of security for Morgan Stanley, who successfully evacuated 2,700 of the company’s employees from the south tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th.

Among the heroes

Among the Heroes
United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back

Jere Longman

Weaves together the events in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to create a complete narrative of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, offering stories of the people most affected by the attacks and their immediate aftermath.

Angel in the rubble

Angel in the Rubble
The Miraculous Rescue of 9/11’s Last Survivor

Genelle Guzman-McMillan

Traces the monumental efforts of the cleanup crew at the site of the World Trade Center collapse, discussing the physical details of the collapse and deconstruction, citing the political factors that contributed and documenting the human side of the effort.

Called

Called
“Hello, My Name is Mrs. Jefferson, I Understand Your Plane is Being Hijacked— ” : 5 A.M., Flight 93, September 11, 2001

Lisa D. Jefferson, Felicia Middlebrooks

Presents the story of the heroes of United Airlines flight 93 who gave their lives when America was attacked and the Verizon supervisor who took the call from passenger Todd Beamer, revealing how an ordinary woman was forever changed by a call.

The cell

The Cell
Inside the 9/11 Plot and Why the Fbi and Cia Failed to Stop It

John Miller, Michael Stone

Provides the final report of the 9/11 Commission detailing their findings on the September 11 terrorist attacks.

City of dust

City of Dust
Illness, Arrogance and 9/11

Anthony DePalma

Discusses the governmental mismanagement of the air pollution resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center, questioning why little was done to protect rescue workers.

The day the world came to town

The Day the World Came to Town
9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland

Jim DeFede

Shares the experiences of the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, who were hosts to the more than six thousand passengers of thirty-eight U.S.-bound jetliners forced to land there in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

A decade of hope

A Decade of Hope
Stories of Grief and Endurance From 9/11 Families and Friends

Dennis Smith

A collection of photographs documents the destruction done to the World Trade Center in the September 11 attacks and the next nine months of work to clear the debris in Ground Zero.

Dog heroes of September 11th

Dog Heroes of September 11Th
A Tribute to America’s Search and Rescue Dogs

Nona Kilgore Bauer

Profiles seventy-seventy canine heroes who served in the recovery missions at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Fresh Kills Landfill following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Fall and rise

Fall and Rise
The Story of 9/11

Mitchell Zuckoff

A portrait of Middletown, the New Jersey town that suffered the highest death toll in the World Trade Center terrorist attack, describes how the inhabitants dealt with their grief, anger, and trauma following September 11th.

Firefight

Firefight
Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11

Patrick Creed, Rick Newman

Describes the epic struggle of firefighters, as well as police, first responders, and others, to battle the fierce fires that threatened to consume the Pentagon in the wake of the terrorist attack on September 11th and reveals how close the attack came to destroying a major communications center within the structure and costing many more lives.

Firehouse

Firehouse

David Halberstam

An inside look at the devastating events of September 11, 2001, from the perspective of a high-ranking FDNY officer, describes the rescue efforts at Ground Zero and his personal ordeal of being buried for more than four hours in the rubble of the North Tower.

The ground truth

The Ground Truth
The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11

John Farmer

A senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission draws on recordings, transcripts, and recently declassified records to reveal aspects of the attacks that have not been previously disclosed, arguing that the day’s events were predictable and that the nation is still at risk.

Heart of a soldier

Heart of a Soldier
A Story of Love, Heroism, and September 11Th

James B. Stewart

A former firefighter and best-selling author of Report From Ground Zero draws from a series of interviews with the heroes and families of those most affected by 9/11 to offer a 10-year look at the tragedy’s lasting effects.

The hunt for KSM

The Hunt for Ksm
Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Terry McDermott, Josh Meyer

Drawing on access to key sources as well as jihadis and family members, provides a comprehensive account of the search for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the elusive mastermind of the September 11 plot against the United States.

Last man down

Last Man Down
A Firefighter’s Story of Survival and Escape From the World Trade Center

Richard Picciotto

A definitive account of Flight 93’s heroic final moments describes phone calls between passengers and their loved ones, their decision to fight the hijackers, and their heroic sacrifices to prevent a greater tragedy.

Longitudes and attitudes

Longitudes and Attitudes
Exploring the World After September 11

Thomas L. Friedman

Collects the twice-weekly columns by the Foreign Affairs writer for the New York Times as published since September 11 to document the nation’s emotional and analytical responses of the attacks and their aftermath.

The looming tower

The Looming Tower
Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Lawrence Wright

A dramatic account of the survival efforts of thousands of people who were inside the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11 draws on hundreds of interviews as well as phone, e-mail, and radio transcripts, in an account that also raises questions about building safety and New York’s emergency preparedness.

Love you, mean it

Love You, Mean It
A True Story of Love, Loss, and Friendship

Patricia Carrington

Tells the stories behind the photographs of 9/11, discusses the controversy over whether the images are exploitative or redemptive, and shows how photographs help us witness, grieve, and understand the unimaginable.

Messages

Messages
Signs, Visits, and Premonitions From Loved Ones Lost on 9/11

Bonnie McEneaney

The wife of a 9/11 victim relates true stories about the spiritual and paranormal experiences—including premonitions, signs, dreams, visitations, and communications through mediums and psychics—of others who lost loved ones during the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

Middletown, America

Middletown, America
One Town’s Passage From Trauma to Hope

Gail Sheehy

Collects intimate stories by people directly affected by the September 11 attacks, including New York City Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and NYPD Lieutenant Tim McGinn.

Never forget

Never Forget
An Oral History of September 11, 2001

Mitchell Fink, Lois Mathias

The story of the last survivor pulled from the 9/11 Ground Zero debris after 27 hours and her journey from desperation to a miraculous salvation.

One nation

One Nation
America Remembers September 11, 2001

Presents photographs—both aerial shots and those taken at ground level—of the attack on the World Trade Center, rescue and recovery efforts, the clearing of the site, and memorial observances through April, 2002.

The only plane in the sky

The Only Plane in the Sky
An Oral History of 9/11

Garrett M. Graff

The chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission describe the committee’s work in investigating the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Out of the blue

Out of the Blue
The Story of September 11, 2001, From Jihad to Ground Zero

Richard Bernstein

A New York Times writer and U.N. bureau chief presents an authoritative account of the September 11 attacks, chronicling their historical roots through their aftermath; tracing the lives of its heroes, victims, and terrorists; and profiling the Al Qaeda organization.

Report from ground zero

Report From Ground Zero

Dennis Smith

Some of the nation’s most respected thinkers share their insights into the attacks of September 11, including Robert O. Keohane, David Heid, Saskia Sassen, Olivier Roy, and many others.

Understanding September 11

Understanding September 11

Craig Calhoun, Paul Price, Ashley Timmer

Explores both the American and Arab sides of the September 11th terrorist attacks in an account of the people, ideas, events, and intelligence failures that led to the attacks.

Wake-up call

Wake-Up Call
The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow

Kristen Breitweiser

In a moving and provocative memoir, the widow of a victim of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center chronicles her odyssey from a quiet suburban family life to her role as an outspoken activist, critic of the current administration, and ardent campaigner for justice and national security.

Watching the world change

Watching the World Change
The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11

David Friend

In a tribute to the firefighters who sacrificed their lives to save others following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Best and the Brightest journeys into the lives of members FDNY Engine 40 Ladder 35, offering a portrait of everyday life in a firehouse and their courageous efforts to preserve life and property.

Without precedent

Without Precedent
The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission

Thomas H. Kean, Lee H. Hamilton

Describes the workings of the terrorist cell that became al-Qaeda and the efforts of the Joint Terrorist Task Force who investigated the cells and their connections to Osama bin Laden.

 

Graphic Novels

The 9/11 report

The 9/11 Report
A Graphic Adaptation

Sid Jacobson, Ernie Colón

A graphic novel of the report of the 9/11 Commission reveals the Commission’s findings regarding the terrorist attacks on the United States and its recommendations concerning what the United States government needs to do in its wake.

American widow

American Widow

Alissa Torres

An autobiographical comic which chronicles the experiences of Alissa Torres after her husband Eddie was killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, leaving her to face a whirlwind of bureaucracy, politics, mourning, and impending childbirth and single motherhood.

 

Movies

The 11th of September

The 11Th of September
Moyers in Conversation

Just hours after the attacks on America Bill Moyers began a unique dialogue with an unparalleled and diverse group of guests. Instead of dwelling on the horrific images of the tragedy, these poised and clear voices provided perspective and soothed a wounded, yet resilient, nation, creating a video that presents both a snapshot of our reactions on 9/11, and a testament to human spirit.

Extremely loud & incredibly close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Oskar is convinced that his father, who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a message for him hidden in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother and driven by an active mind that refuses to believe in things that can’t be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father’s closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his loss to a greater understanding of the world around him.

Out of the clear blue sky

Out of the Clear Blue Sky

Tells the riveting, behind-the-scenes story of Cantor Fitzgerald. On September 10, 2001, financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald was headquartered on the top 5 floors of the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, 658 of their 960 employees were missing, presumed dead, in the nation’s worst terrorist attack. Tells twin stories’ the saga of the ravaged business and surviving employees, and an insider’s take on the unusual community of families that formed in the aftermath.

United 93

United 93

Fact-based story about the 40 passengers and crew aboard San Francisco bound flight United 93, who sat down as strangers and found the courage to stand up as one. This hijacked flight was the fourth terrorist attack plane on September 11, 2001

World Trade Center

World Trade Center

The true story of Port Authority policemen John McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno, who volunteered for rescue duty and became trapped in the rubble of the Towers on September 11, 2001. The men became two of the last survivors extracted from Ground Zero. It is a story of the true heroes and of that fateful time in United States history, when buildings would fall and heroes would rise, literally from the ashes to inspire the entire human race.

 

Fiction

Extremely loud & incredibly close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Jonathan Safran Foer

Oskar Schell, the nine-year-old son of a man killed in the World Trade Center attacks, searches the five boroughs of New York City for a lock that fits a black key his father left behind.

A fall of marigolds

A Fall of Marigolds

Susan Meissner

Two women living 100 years apart experience similar tragic losses of love, Clara’s in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, and Taryn’s in the collapse of the Twin Towers, are connected through time by a scarf.

From ashes to honor

From Ashes to Honor

Loree Lough

When former police officer, Austin Finley, and his counselor, Mercy Samara, cross paths years after their time as doctor and patient their common memories may finally bring them closer.

People who knew me

People Who Knew Me

Kim Hooper

A stressed out woman in a troubled marriage, with an ailing and demanding in-law, a romantic entanglement with her boss, and a pregnancy, flees the tragedy of the September 11 terror attacks and starts a new life in California.

Remember

Remember

Karen Kingsbury

Ashley Baxter keeps her family and God at a distance trying to prove she can survive on her own, until the tragedy of September 11 changes her life forever.

Saturday

Saturday

Ian McEwan

A successful, happily married neurosurgeon, Henry Perowne is drawn into a confrontation with Baxter, a small-time thug, following a minor motor vehicle accident, an encounter that has savage consequences.

The usual rules

The Usual Rules

Joyce Maynard

After losing her mother in the September 11 attacks, young Wendy moves in with her father in California, where she meets her father’s girlfriend and a sad bookstore owner while missing her half-brother back in New York.

The whole world over

The Whole World Over

Julia Glass

Hired as the personal chef to the governor of New Mexico, Greenie Duquette leaves behind her Greenwich Village pastry business and her husband to head west with her four-year-old son, prompting a period of upheaval and reflection for herself.