Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts

Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts

3.5 46
by David Dunbar, Popular Mechanics

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ISBN-10: 1588165477

ISBN-13: 9781588165473

Pub. Date: 08/02/2011

Publisher: Hearst

A decade after the World Trade Center disaster, rampant speculation abounds on what actually happened. Wild talk flourishes on the Internet, TV, and radio. Was the Pentagon really struck by a missile? Was the untimely death of Barry Jennings, who witnessed the collapse of Tower 7 and thought he heard “explosions,” actually an assassination ? Not everyone


A decade after the World Trade Center disaster, rampant speculation abounds on what actually happened. Wild talk flourishes on the Internet, TV, and radio. Was the Pentagon really struck by a missile? Was the untimely death of Barry Jennings, who witnessed the collapse of Tower 7 and thought he heard “explosions,” actually an assassination ? Not everyone is convinced the truth is out there. Once again, in this updated edition of the critically acclaimed Debunking 9/11 Myths, Popular Mechanics counters the conspiracy theorists with a dose of hard, cold facts.
The magazine consulted more than 300 experts in fields like air traffic control, aviation, civil engineering, fire fighting, and metallurgy, and then rigorously, meticulously, and scientifically analyzed the 25 most persistent 9/11 conspiracy theories. Each one was conclusively refuted with facts, not politics and rumors, including five new myths involving the collapse of 7 World Trade Center and four longstanding conjectures now considered in the context of new research.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Foreword James B. Meigs ix

Introduction xix

1 The Planes 1

The Hijackers' Flying Skills 3

Where's the Pod? 8

Flight 175's Windows 12

No Stand-Down Order 14

Military Intercepts 22

2 World Trade Center Towers 1 & 2 27

The Empire State Building Accident 29

Widespread Damage 32

Melted Steel 36

Free-Fall Times 42

Puffs of Dust 46

"Nano-Thermite" in the Towers 54

Seismic Spikes 60

3 World Trade Center Building 7 64

Fire and Debris Damage 67

Wreckage Pile 72

Silverstein's "Pull It" Quote 78

The Death of Barry Jennings 80

Minimal Wreckage to Study 85

4 The Pentagon 89

Flight 77 Debris 92

Big Plane, Small Holes 96

Intact Pentagon Windows 101

5 Flight 93 104

F-16 Pilot 106

The White Jet 110

Cell-Phone Calls 112

The Wreckage 116

Indian Lake 119

Afterword: The Conspiracy Industry 121

Appendix A Experts Consulted 138

Appendix B World Trade Center Report 142

Appendix C World Trade Center Building 7 164

Appendix D Pentagon Building Report 176

Notes 195

Index 210

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3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
K-E_Moore More than 1 year ago
Whether you believe in the government or not, whether you're an engineer or not, whether you have any use for right-wingers or not, this book is for you. Dispassionately taking on all of the arguments of the conspiracy theorists, it crushes them with simple facts back by unerring logic. Conspiracy believers can rail all they want, calling people sheep and easily deceived but they have no answer--and no evidence. "Debunking 9/11 Myths" is the ideal handbook for those who prefer rationality over emotional certainty.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gives solid factual evidence needed to explain away various anomalies often cited as evidence for a U.S. government-supported conspiracy to stage the 9/11 attacks. Towards the end, the authors correctly note that there is something wrong with a theory based entirely on the anomalies of a rival theory, rather than on independent evidence of its own. I think, however, that the book is too kind. There are far bigger problems with the conspiracy theories in question than the fact that the anomalies can be given simple, alternative explanations, or that they are lacking evidence of their own in crucial places. Many of the theories are simply manifestly incoherent. Just one example: Why would the government go to the trouble of crashing planes into the WTC *and* planting bombs, when it could simply plant the bombs, and blame the bombs on the terrorists (who actually did try a bombing in 1993). Or, even assuming that planes alone couldn't bring the towers down, why not just settle for coordinated plane crashes? Many would still die and the public would still be outraged. There are many other similar contradictions between the motives of the alleged conspirators, and the real plotters undertook. Most of the conspiracy theorists ignore them. Given these contradictions, there is almost no obligation to appease the demand to explain anomalies. We should not consider it within our dignity to go the extra mile to refute incoherencies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for someone who to understand some of the origins and arguments of the 9/11 myths. The book is written well for the average person, although I think someone with a engineering or architectural background may find some of the book even more enjoyable, finding some of the conspiracy theories basis almost comical (unfortunately). I also enjoyed the afterword, which discussed in further detail many of the 'ascientific methods' used by conspiracy theorists in which they selectively research, study and identify information that supports the conclusion that they want to prove. Hats off to the authors!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Based on an article that appeared in the March 2005 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine, this book was compiled by the editors of that publication in hopes of combating the various conspiracy theories that have sprung up in the wake of America's most deadly terrorist attack. Those who are convinced that a Zionist conspiracy or some other such nonsense lies at the heart of the 9/11 tragedy and will not be swayed by facts may as well look elsewhere. But for the reader interested in learning more about what might appear to be discrepancies in the accepted evidence, this book will prove fascinating reading. Conspiracy theories are presented with more than their due respect, followed by explanations which are given in a simple, easy-to-follow style. Surprisingly, at just over 100 pages (not including various appendices), the authors were able to address just about all of the most viable conspiracy theories I have heard (some of the truly far-out theories are left unchallenged, perhaps rightly so). There are also several pages of color photos and diagrams which are helpfully referred to throughout the text. After reviewing the evidence, I set the book down thoroughly convinced that the official explanation for the events of that day is indeed the most accurate one. Too bad there's no book like this to explain the intelligence agency incompetence that allowed these events to occur in the first place.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Debunking 9/11 Myths certainly accomplishes it's title. The explanations are provided with enough evidence yet is not boring. Although most of the information is 'common sense', I would recommend verifying any information that one has doubts about. It is incredible that even after reading this excellent document, there are some who seem to completely disregard the contents or alter the context of sentences within the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The conspiracy nuts need to get in touch with Scully and Mulder. This book debunks all the insidious nonsense that is infesting the internet. This book is highly recomended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just look up Yellow Journalism in Wikipedia and you'll see that Hearst gets most of the credit for inventing and favoring sensationalism in journalism over reporting the truth. If you enjoy reading Weekly World News you will love reading this account of 9/11. Popular Mechanics is yellow journalism at its finest and has no interest in the facts. The basic fact remains that the 9/11 commission or NIST or FEMA has not provided a physics model to the public on how a global collapse of the WTC towers could have happened due to fire and structural damgage. This means it is impossible to independently verify through science how these buildings collapsed from their findings. WTC 7 was not even mentioned in the 9/11 commission report and now NIST themselves are examining the possibility of planted explosives causing the collapse of WTC-7. For those who want the truth and not yellow journalism please read serious investigations such as those done by Jim Hoffman, Steven Jones and David Ray Griffin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is a lot of stuff on the internet and other sources that conclude some weird stuff about 9/11. David Dunbar does an excellent job of looking at the facts and coming up with rational conclusions supported by scientific evidence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
read this book if your into crazy things like science and evidence. if you like group think, and the term 'strawman arguments,' you should check out looney conspiracy blogs. that way you can spew the same arguments off the same talking points, then cite each other as 'evidence'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book presents a solid discussion on 9/11 mythology, well removed from the overt political discussions that can be found in other writings on this topic. Whether you do or do not believe many of the arguments presented in this book, it is a good read for somebody looking for a more sensible and reasonable discussion on the topic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an important book for people of all political stripes to read. Popular Mechanics is non-partisan, and the conspiracy theorists come from both the far-left and the far-right. It's important for everyone to get the facts straight. I'm an anti-war liberal, and I'm disgusted by the way idiotic fringe groups are hijacking the anti-war movement with the false '9/11 Truth Movement.⿝ It's time for everyone who cares about this country to start paying attention to the facts. If we could do that, we might be able to get out of this mess.
pccoder More than 1 year ago
Not as exciting as the conspiracy stories, but a good book nonetheless. Popular Mechanics does a fine job of explaining the hows and whys of what happened on 9/11.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a 5 star book, all the lower ratings are from Truthers pissed off that their fantasy has been proven wrong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual with the debunking crowd, they fail to deal with the most potent and credible evidence that the truthers have presented. Instead they build strawman arguments against the weakest evidence that most truthers do not even support. If you are going to waste your money on this book, do yourself a favor and read the opposing view point as well. I've read dozen of books on this topic and this book is sadly one of the worst. Many of the arguments in this book have already been proven incorrect. Either the authors are being blissfully ignorant or intentionally avoiding the obvious holes in their ridiculously poor argument, I'm not sure which. Either way, don't waste your money.
nashtick More than 1 year ago
It amazes me the types of reviews that people write for books that they've obviously not read. Some of the people writing reviews for this book on this page mention things that are already covered in the book. This was a great read, useful material for conspiracy-infested environments like the type you get into with Youtube videos on conspiracy. In fact, I've used it for exactly that. So far I have not had a problem, the conspiracy theorists often just change the subject or make more baseless implications, or not respond at all to my comments. I was raised Russian so I do not feel much of an American. Because of that emotional disconnection I do not have to deal with the depressing thought of my countrymen believing that which is against what their country stands for. But it still saddens me that Americans fall for it. Which is why it feels good to be able to bring the believers in conspiracy back to the real world using the information in this book and I have not had a single problem doing that thus far. Thank you for taking the time to research for this book. It is bravery to be able to stand up to the paranoid masses of conspiracy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, I'm wonder if 'The V' has even read this book and as such is in a position to comment on or rate this book. Second of all, it's ironic how close minded some people can be once they feel they've learned 'the truth' Anyway - this book is clearly well researched and presents the facts in a format that you can pick up and read, and not have to have an engineering degree to understand. It is definately a great reference tool with many contributors and actual experts giving their points of view and researched opinions. As a publication which has been around for so many years, Popular Mechanics is an ideal, reliable source for anything relating to topics such engineering and science and as such I would highly recommend this new book to anyone - it's definately worth the $12. That said, it's always best to do the research yourself hence why I've given this 4-stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
SpeakTruthOrDontSpeak More than 1 year ago
This book is not based on facts whatsoever. Before buying this yellow journalism book, just watch this on youtube- 9/11 Debate: Loose Change vs. Popular Mechanics pt.1, pt. 2 and pt3. Its the writer and director of loose change argueing against the authors of book. I dont have time to list all my reasons for why these guys are frauds, watc h it and decide for yourself. These writers are scared of the truth, they are trying to convince themselves just as much as they are others because they would rather life in a lie then face the truth because they are cowards. And some of these people here commenting below me can only see this country through black and white, they are either so rediculously brainwashed or they are scared to think outside the box that just maybe our government elites and C.I.A. set this all up. It wasnt how they were raised to think and no matter how much evidence is put infront of there faces, they WILL NOT believe it. WAKE UP!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I want to believe this book. I want to have faith in our government. I want to be as idealistic as I was as a child. But I am not a child and our government has progressively shown me it cannot be trusted. When the individual who gets credit for the expert analysis in this book happens to be the cousin of Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security...pardon me if I remain a bit of a skeptic. This isn't the expert witness I was hoping for, the three twenty-somethings armed with a laptop and $6000 to produce the movie 'Loose Change' (visible on Google video) have provided more credible testimony. I'll pick one minor example of many...we are to believe that the wings of the 757 just vaporized without leaving a mark on the Pentagon. Supposedly one broke on the ground, the other hit the reinforced concrete wall and broke off as well, leaving the blast glass windows intact in the immediate vicinity. In either case I should believe they both vaporized more or less, and that the one breaking across the ground left minimal scarring. They claim in the book these wings are just frail aluminum, not likely to leave a mark that would be easily identifiable from the photos. Well, they certainly made quite an impression on the World Trade Center, it's very evident where those wing tips entered the Towers. How about the wreckage in the Pennsylvania field...I've seen car wrecks that left more debris than we see in the pictures of either account. Take the effort to locate and read the 1350 page book entitled 'Tragedy and Hope' by Dr. Carroll Quigley of Georgetown University. Dr. Quigley wasn't a conspiracy theorist, he was one of the intellectual elite and an insider to the ruling Establishment. (Or go the Readers' Digest route and get 'The Naked Capitalist' by Dr. Cleon Skousen, which is a review and commentary of 'Tragedy and Hope'. Dr. Skousen served the FBI between 1935-1951, and worked closely with J. Edgar Hoover...his credentials are impeccable.) What you learn here is there is great reason to be skeptical at best, if not outright angry. (Find the page where Dr. Skousen talks about his fears for the public schools...every fear he had in 1970 is our reality in 2006.). We have surrendered many freedoms and much national sovergnity prior to 911, and that is accelerating greatly post-911. The more I dig the less I trust, for I am avoiding the easy path of internet heresay and getting into things like the Congressional record for answers. (For example, discover what Senator Lindberg, father of aviator Charles Lindberg, had to say in the Congressional Record concerning the establishment of the Federal Reserve. Compare that with 'The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin.). It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat, it doesn't matter if you are a Republican. The time is ripe to stop considering ourselves as either blue or red and to start considering ourselves as Americans who have a right and a responsibility to question our Government and to be certain their actions are consistant with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Everyone should read 'Debunking 911 Myths'...just as everyone should see 'Loose Change'. It's a must buy and a must read...just be careful of what you believe, and don't fall for everything without digging deep.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many 9/11 deniers will attack this book, just as they did the original piece in the magazine, because of the last name of one of the contributors/researchers. Ben Chertoff does have the same last name as Michael Chertoff (Sec. of Homeland Security), but the ties essentially stop there. There is absolutely nobody who can verify that they are related, even Ben's own mother has no idea if there is a family bond to Michael. The two have never spoken. Perhaps most convincingly, the whole theory that this family connection was part of the cover-up was started by a neo-Nazi publication that has previously attacked Michael. Take these claims for what they're worth...nothing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is obvious that the conspiracy theorists cannot be swayed. They get their news predominently from blogs and think with emotions rather than logic. Interesting none of them use their names in their reviews. Years ago it was said the net would be invaluable for information, but also that rumors and hatred would spread like in no other time in our history. Popular Mechanics is non-partisan. Before you fall for the garbage spawned by bloggers (many whom are people writing fiction as fact and enjoying fifteen minutes of fame), read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read the book. If it answers your questions (As it did for me) fine. If not then it is your choice to believe what you wish, but I seriously doubt you would accept anything other than the most outrageous explanation, such as 'the planes were packed with extra explosives and piloted by clones of John Wikes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. While the plane that crashed in PA was actually a UFO carrying an ambassador of peace and, was shot down by a black helicopter, and the Pentagon was hit by a secret missile that makes the people who look at it see a passenger jet.' Also if your wondering I put the explanation in quotes is because it was quoted by a man who claimes to be one of the leading independant investigators into 9/11. If he speaks for the 9/11 movement you're all in trouble.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want to keep sleeping and ignore the truth, read this book, watch your MTV, buy your $5 gas, and give up your civil liberties. If you choose to take the red pill, you'll wake up and realize that this world is truly messed up and in trouble. Disbelieve all you want. Listen to all the right-wing 'experts'. Watch all of the talking-heads on Fox and all the other networks. I only ask that if you read this propaganda, please at least look at some contradictory material and decide for yourselves what to believe. Loose Change may not be the best documentary to make an argument about the truth for 9/11, but at least it tries to make a convincing one. Do your own searching America... don't let the government be the only ones to tell you what to believe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The real facts can be found on the internet anywhere you look. This book sets up strawman arguments and ignores alot of the main points of evidence brought up in response to 911. If you want to know why PM is not credible on this. you need only to look up the name Chertoff. And how it associates to this article. The REAL truth is out there.