This is the final installment in a three-part series. Read part one here and part two here. The tribalism that grew up on the pile had origins so primitive that they can only be understood as instinctual. At the core was an us-versus-them mentality brought on by the mere act of donning a uniform. Whether as firefighters or as the two sorts of police city and Port Authority , the uniformed personnel at the site were generally drawn from the same white "ethnic" outer-borough neighborhoods and families, but as members of their respective organizations they had learned to distrust and resent the others.

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Oct 30, Maureen rated it really liked it What an interesting read! Langewiesche shared a new perspective I have not read or seen in a documentary before. It reads very academic, but what great information. The bottom line is that we were not ready, but one can argue how to prepare for the unimaginable?

I loved the map at the beginning to have a better understanding of where the buildings were and which were destroyed. Langewiesche walks through the partially standing buildings and describes how time stood still. Really moving! This book will stick with me for a long time! It goes into great detail about the collapse of the towers and the destruction of that day.

It covers the response of the New York emergency crews and their desperate search for survivors. The author gives us his own account of this time, made possible by his unrestricted access to the site. He witnessed the clean up and the toll it took on the workers who were there. This book centers on key people who ran the clean up and had to put personal feelings aside and get the job done. The author describes the emotional toll it took on these people while they searched for survivors.

He describes the massive amount of work it took to clean up the site. William Langewiesche gives us his first hand account of the destruction, painting images that you can clearly see. The attention to detail is excellent as he captures the raw emotions that followed this event. I would recommend this book because it covers an important part of American History. Everyone should read it to better understand what that time was like for people in New York.

I am glad I read this book. I wish there would have been updates on the people mentioned in the book.


Excerpts From "American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center"

Read part two here and part three here. For thirty years the Twin Towers had stood above the streets as all tall buildings do, as a bomb of sorts, a repository for the prodigious energy originally required to raise so much weight so high. Now, in a single morning, in twin ten-second pulses, the towers released that energy back into New York. Massive steel beams flew through the neighborhood like gargantuan spears, penetrating subway lines and underground passages to depths of thirty feet, crushing them, rupturing water mains and gas lines, and stabbing high into the sides of nearby office towers, where they lodged. The phone system, the fiber-optic network, and the electric power grid were knocked out.


American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center


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