After the Fall: New Yorkers Remember September 2001 and the Years that Followed

Overview


Published to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, After the Fall is a landmark oral history drawn from the celebrated collection of 9/11 interviews at Columbia University.

Within days of 9/11, Columbia’s Oral History Research Office deployed interviewers across the city to begin collecting the accounts and observations of hundreds of people from a diverse mix of New York neighborhoods and backgrounds. Over subsequent months and years, ...

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After the Fall: New Yorkers Remember September 2001 and the Years that Followed

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Overview


Published to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, After the Fall is a landmark oral history drawn from the celebrated collection of 9/11 interviews at Columbia University.

Within days of 9/11, Columbia’s Oral History Research Office deployed interviewers across the city to begin collecting the accounts and observations of hundreds of people from a diverse mix of New York neighborhoods and backgrounds. Over subsequent months and years, follow-up interviews produced a deep and revealing look at how the attacks changed individual lives and communities in New York City.

After the Fall presents a selection of these fascinating testimonies, with heartbreaking and enlightening stories from a broad range of New Yorkers. The interviews include first-responders, taxi drivers, school teachers, artists, religious leaders, immigrants, and others who were interviewed at intervals since the 2001 attacks. The result is a remarkable time-lapse account of the city as it changed in the wake of 9/11, one that will resonate powerfully with New Yorkers and millions of others who continue to feel the impact of the most damaging attack on American soil in history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Every New Yorker has a story of the morning of September 11, and Columbia University’s Oral History Research Office has made an admirable effort to collect a wide sampling. The editors present accounts of the attacks and their aftermath, conveying diverse stories “as they unfolded in an extraordinary moment.” The most affecting stories in this diligent oral history convey the immediacy and horror of the scene around the World Trade Center towers. Accounts from paramedics wading into the inferno and office workers evacuated moments before the buildings’ collapse go deep into the essence of surviving amid chaos. “You hear this terrible roaring sound,” said ambulance driver James Dobson, “And all you hear are these explosions, and everything got black,” while the terrified passengers in his vehicle passed a respirator around to survive, breath by breath. Across the city, Muslim teacher Debbie Almontaser struggled to calm her fifth-grade pupils as terrified parents collected them one by one. As it became clear that the attackers were Muslim, she worried about wearing her headscarf and turned later to community outreach efforts as dozens of Arab men were detained, while her oldest son served in a National Guard unit sorting through body parts in the scorched rubble. The patchwork quality hints at the scale of confusion on September 11 itself, and the numberless ways in which those experiences rippled though the city, the nation, and the world. Ten years on, the power of these stories endures. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"A meticulously edited and staggering book of 'living memory.'"
Booklist (starred review)

"The 19 people whose stories are charted here range from artists and street vendors to paramedics, psychotherapists and priests; their collected conversations root the events of 9/11 in the context of their own lives—and the life of the city itself."
—Salon.com

Many recent and new 9/11 books include quick snapshots of the human response to the tragedy, but this volume is especially recommended for the length (ten to 20 pages each) and thoughtfulness of the interviews.
Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595586476
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,037,355
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Mary Marshall Clark is director of the Columbia University Oral History Research Office and a past president of the Oral History Association.

Peter Bearman is the Cole Professor of the Social Sciences at Columbia University. He is the author of Doormen and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology. They both live in New York City.

Catherine Ellis is a contributing producer with American RadioWorks, the documentary unit of American Public Media. She is founder of Audio Memoir, which chronicles personal stories for families and organizations. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Stephen Drury Smith is the executive editor and host of American RadioWorks® and is the winner of the DuPont–Columbia University Gold Baton. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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