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An anthology that gives a voice to the day that left a stunning roar of silence across America.
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
Foreword ¦ David Talbot
Running Against the Grain:
A Survivor's Tale ¦ Ann Marsh
A Season in Hell ¦ Christopher Ketcham
The Dig ¦ James Croak
Emotional Rescue ¦ William Harvey
The Devil's Smoke ¦ Christopher Ketcham
Nothing Will Be the Same
Writing in the Dark ¦ Rick Moody
No More High Heels ¦ Janet Fitch
Consciousness on Overload ¦ Caroline Knapp
Sex in a Time of Terror ¦ Cole Kazdin
Requiem for a Stranger ¦ Jennifer Foote Sweeney
U2 Elevate New York ¦ David Talbot
King Kong's Home Away from Home ¦ Stephanie Zacharek
Deciphering Suicide ¦ Jeffrey Eugenides
The Martyr in Waiting ¦ Asra Q. Nomani
At Home with the Taliban ¦ Asra Q. Nomani
Bin Laden's Creepy Charisma ¦ Joan Walsh
Bin Laden's Diary ¦ Tom McNichol
All Crazy on the Kunduz Front ¦ Phillip Robertson
Panic at the Bangi Bridge ¦ Phillip Robertson
The First Casualties ¦ Sean Kenny
The Home Front
Get a Grip, America! ¦ Laura Miller
I Love Old Glory -- But Not the Creeps Who've Waved It All My Life ¦ King Kaufman
Islam's Flawed Spokesmen ¦ Jake Tapper
The Prime-Time Smearing of Sami Al-Arian ¦ Eric Boehlert
Stand Beside Her ¦ King Kaufman
Bringing the War Home ¦ Damien Cave
A Memo to American Muslims ¦ M. A. Muqtedar Khan
Drafted into the Cult of War ¦ Chris Colin
The Kitschification of September 11 ¦ Daniel Harris
Dan Rather's Tears ¦ Stephanie Zacharek
Confessions of a 9/11 Widow ¦ A. R. Torres
Missing Women ¦ Lauren Sandler
The Island of Mourning ¦ Terry Golway
Not Exactly Fatherless ¦ Kevin J. Sweeney
Start Making Sense
America the Scapegoat ¦ Meera Atkinson
The Bloody Jordan River Now Flows Through America ¦ Gary Kamiya
America Is the Biggest Terrorist State: A Conversation with Noam Chomsky ¦ Suzy Hansen
The Making of a Hawk ¦ David Talbot
Posted January 17, 2010
No text was provided for this review.