Afterwords: Stories and Reports from 9/11 and Beyond

Afterwords: Stories and Reports from 9/11 and Beyond

by The Editors of Salon.com
     
 

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AFTER September 11, 2001,
emotions couldn't be clearly defined.
There were no WORDS
strong enough to justify, avenge, explain, or express the sheer magnitude of
this horrifyingly unique moment in history.
In this remarkable anthology, compiled by Salon.com's award-winning editorial team, Rick Moody, Janet Fitch, Caroline Knapp,…  See more details below

Overview

AFTER September 11, 2001,
emotions couldn't be clearly defined.
There were no WORDS
strong enough to justify, avenge, explain, or express the sheer magnitude of
this horrifyingly unique moment in history.
In this remarkable anthology, compiled by Salon.com's award-winning editorial team, Rick Moody, Janet Fitch, Caroline Knapp, and Jeffrey Eugenides join many contemporary literary talents and reporters in giving a voice to the day that left a stunning roar of silence across America.
Dread, fear, heroism, and dignity color these pages from eyewitness accounts of ordinary citizens turned rescue workers, to an escape from the World Trade Center, a report on everyday New Yorkers finding comfort in "terror sex," and stories of miracles in the madness -- like that of a blind man led by his seeing-eye dog down eighty-seven flights of stairs to safety.
Afterwords also probes the aftermath of the attacks on the nation and the world's cultural, political, and social fabric through writing ranging from an in-depth interview with controversial social critic Noam Chomsky, to a female Pakistani-American journalist's meeting with a Taliban leader and his wives, and essays on how sheer horror gave way to heartening solidarity, macabre spectacle, and kitschy sentimentality.
Immediate, raw, emotional, and empowering, this outstanding collection speaks brilliantly to the simple need to remember and comprehend what happened against that perfect blue sky on September 11, 2001.
A portion of the royalties will be donated to the Twin Towers Fund and the Red Cross's Fund for Afghan Children.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rick Moody, Jeffrey Eugenides and Terry Golway are among the contributors to this collection from the online magazine Salon.com. But some of the most trenchant pieces are from less well-known writers with little-heard points of view: a Muslim excoriates his fellow believers for "hypocrisy on a grand scale." Perhaps most poignantly, A.R. Torres, a "9/11 widow," looks at the aid checks flowing in from various sources and considers her ironic good fortune in being "so high in the hierarchy of the nation's sadness and sympathy." (Sept. 3) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743470872
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Publication date:
09/25/2002
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
389 KB

Read an Excerpt


Foreword

Nothing would ever be the same. And yet it was. The World Series was played at Yankee Stadium, just miles from ground zero -- and the president even threw out the first pitch. Christmas shoppers thronged the department stores and malls. Planeloads of passengers again lifted into the air, despite the continued flaws in airport security and the occasional headline-blaring breach. Soon enough, the live, in-color immolation that mesmerized the entire world on September 11 was packaged into an extravagant kitsch fest, with tear-streaked Statues of Liberty and Old Glory refrigerator magnets replacing the stunned disbelief, rage, and unspeakable loss that initially swept over us. Life went on in America. Same as it ever was.

And yet everything did change. Emergency rescue workers most of us once regarded as a faceless part of the urban landscape suddenly achieved mythic stature. Lovers, spouses, and children on their way out the door in the morning were held to the chest a beat or two longer. Americans, long complacent or ignorant about their country's role in the world, began speaking knowledgeably about radical Islam's case against the West, the fateful bond between the United States and Israel, and the ancient tribal demarcations of Afghanistan. The political and cultural effluvia that had once enthralled us now seemed "so September 10." We no longer felt immune to the world's madness and mayhem -- on one bright and terrible morning it had come swooping down and torn a hole in our sky.

Like most Americans, Salon's editors and writers quickly realized we were living in a strange new world, and we rushed to explore it. In the days and weeks and months following the terror attacks on America, we fanned out across the country and the world to capture this epic story. Salon's ragtag army of staff reporters, freelancers, essayists, and average citizens filed stories from New York, Washington, Berkeley, St. Louis, Paris, London, Brussels, Islamabad, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul, and many other far-flung cities. Our medium, the World Wide Web, was the best vehicle to get on top of this global, fast-changing story. The Web allows for an immediate, intimate, and reflective type of journalism not easily replicated by other media. This was the first major war in which Americans used the Web to follow the news as it happened, logging on from work during the day instead of waiting for the evening TV news.

Most of the articles collected in this anthology have a deeply personal tone, from the eerie first-person account of a ground zero volunteer to the story of a World Trade Center widower who must learn to brush his daughter's hair for the first time to a war correspondent's harrowing escape from a murderous band of Afghan soldiers. Salon also turned to novelists such as Rick Moody, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Janet Fitch, as well as humorists, to help make sense of this unique moment in the world's history. And while some of the pieces here attempt to put September 11 and its aftermath in a broad geopolitical context, others take a street-level view, looking, for instance, at how the war amped up sexual relationships in Manhattan, coining the term "terror sex." Salon has always avoided party-line journalism, preferring a mix of voices and opinions to the political monotone of the left or right. And that diversity is represented here as well, with my own account of my hawkish transformation placed alongside a spirited conversation with American foreign policy's most implacable critic, Noam Chomsky. And finally, we have included some of Salon's best in-depth reporting on the war, including staff writer Eric Boehlert's chilling account of how a law-abiding Palestinian professor at a Florida university was lynched by a hysterical media in the weeks after September 11.

Since its founding in 1995, Salon has prided itself on taking a fearless and iconoclastic look at the news events of the day, crawling behind the headlines in ways that our corporate media counterparts often find grubby and distasteful. We like to ask questions no one else is asking; we see the wisdom in the unconventional. And we're not embarrassed to let our emotions show. This enterprising, if sometimes jagged, approach to journalism is on full display in this anthology.

The stories collected here span the period between September 11 and President Bush's January 29 "axis of evil" State of the Union speech, an address that marked the end of the "firefighters' war," as political pundit Chris Matthews termed it, and the beginning of a much broader and more controversial campaign to eradicate America's enemies. Afterwords is not the official account of this horrid and heroic chapter in history. This anthology may lack the seamless and authoritative feel of the works of scholarship that are certain to come in future years. But I think you will agree that the vivid reports here bring these times fully to life. Here, in these pages, is a scrapbook of living history, eyewitness accounts, and impassioned essays that capture that millennial fever of 9/11 and the days that followed.

-- David Talbot

Salon Editor

February 2002

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Meet the Author

David Talbot, author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, is the founder and CEO of Salon. He lives in San Francisco.

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