Zuckoff did not set out to write a feel-good book, and the subject matter is unquestionably depressing at times....

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A meticulously delineated, detailed, graphic history of the events of 9/11 in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.

Working at the Boston Globe as an investigative journalist, Zuckoff (Journalism/Boston Univ.; 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi, 2014, etc.) spent months after 9/11 publishing pieces on the tragedy’s victims and their families and friends. He decided to revisit the personal sagas so that future generations of readers will fully understand this watershed moment in American history. The author divides the book into three sections: what happened inside the cabins and cockpits of the four hijacked planes; what happened on the ground at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the Pennsylvania countryside; and reports on what happened to some of the survivors after 9/11. Zuckoff mostly avoids references to the hijackers’ possible motivations as well as speculation on why the government failed to halt the sometimes-amateurish terrorist plot despite multiple warnings from alert sources. The author also eschews lengthy commentary on the massive reduction in civil liberties in the U.S. as governments at all levels implemented drastic policies to halt future terrorist attacks. In each of the three sections, Zuckoff offers a cross-section of widely representative individuals and then builds the relentlessly compelling narrative around those real-life protagonists. Despite the story’s sprawling cast, which could have sabotaged a book by a less-skilled author, Zuckoff ably handles all of the complexities. Even readers who might normally balk at reliving 9/11 and its aftermath are quite likely to find the accounts of gruesome deaths, seemingly miraculous survivals, and courageous first responders difficult to set aside for an emotional break. In two appendices, the author provides a “timeline of key events” and a list of “the nearly three thousand names as they appear inscribed in bronze on the 9/11 Memorial in New York.”

Zuckoff did not set out to write a feel-good book, and the subject matter is unquestionably depressing at times. Nonetheless, as contemporary history, Fall and Rise is a clear and moving success.

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-227564-6

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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