A disaster tale with more kick than memory might suggest. At 9:55 on a Saturday morning, July 28, 1945, a B-25 bomber lost in fog over Manhattan rammed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building and created something like Hindenburg Disaster Meets Towering Inferno. Arthur Weingarten was there--only ten years old--in the company of his fire marshal father and Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. He relates that in his research for this book (over 200 interviews with those involved) the ""surface drama of the event became subordinate to the linkage of personalities involved."" Well, not only is this book densely slathered with surface drama--people trapped in burning offices and runaway elevators, not to mention the three doomed men aboard the B-25--its deeper scheme has been intricately worked out, including not just personal histories but also histories of the plane itself, the building, the city, and the La Guardia Airport air-traffic-control system. Inevitably, the reader supplies clips from Universal's crashing-plaster epics--but it's the involvement that makes his recreated holocaust matter.