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A DECADE OF HOPE by Dennis Smith


Stories of Grief and Endurance from 9/11 Families and Friends

by Dennis Smith

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-670-02293-9
Publisher: Viking

The 10th anniversary of 9/11 is memorialized through 25 heartrending accounts of loss and resilience.

As with his Report from Ground Zero (2002), retired firefighter and prolific author Smith (San Francisco Is Burning: The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires, 2005, etc.) assembles another compilation of courageous stories, many from interviews conducted with dedicated civil servants like the tireless NYFD firefighters, policemen and other Ground Zero attendants who directly responded to the disaster in 2001. Brooklyn fire operations chief Dan Nigro recalls running for his life when the South Tower collapsed around him; he goes on to spiritedly reflect on his 33 years on the force and shares his outspoken opinion on America’s Middle-Eastern political involvement (“I think it’s crap”). While FDNY lung specialist David Prezant dug himself out from falling debris to manage a triage area for the seriously wounded, Ladder 6 Captain Jay Jonas and his men raced against time to rescue resilient civilian Josephine Harris. Police commissioner Ray Kelly and chairman of Homeland Security Peter King authoritatively describe counterterrorism measures and strategies currently in place to thwart further terrorist activity, though King emerges as less optimistic about the country’s short-term anti-terrorist goals. While the focus is clearly on recollections from the brotherhood of Ground Zero rescue firefighters, Smith presents a well-rounded selection of interviews, prefaced with descriptive information. From a Manhattan high-school principal whose unshakable faith kept her strong, to grief-stricken widows, brothers, sisters and countless families fractured by devastating losses, Smith consistently wrings moving humanity from each contributor’s story.

A stirring tapestry of real-life heroes.