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

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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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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Conspiracy theories are the fast food of the Internet: instantly appealing; easy to prepare; created for mass consumption. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, conspiracy buffs of both the left and the right have constructed scenarios that contradict the accepted story of four teams of al Qaeda hijackers taking over commercial jets. According to some of these theories, the World Trade Center was brought down not by planes but by internal explosives; an airplane did not hit the Pentagon; a heat-seeking missile hit Flight 93. In 9/11 Myths Debunked, David Dunbar and Brad Reagan report on the in-depth findings of the practical scientists at Popular Mechanics.
From the Publisher
“There is no time to waste. You must purchase Debunking 9/11 Myths.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Certainly one of the most original—and potentially controversial—titles on the topic.” —Publishers Weekly

“Do you have a friend who emails you the most recent documentary ‘proving’ that a missile impacted the Pentagon or that timed explosions brought down WTC-7? Buy him a copy of this book. He’ll thank you later.”—Weekly Standard

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588165473
  • Publisher: Hearst
  • Publication date: 8/2/2011
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 300,564
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Dunbar is executive editor of POPULAR MECHANICS and led the editorial team that produced the groundbreaking cover story debunking the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11. He has also directed the magazine’s coverage of the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.

Brad Reagan is a contributing editor to POPULAR MECHANICS and has reported for the magazine on digital forensics and on the counterterrorism programs of the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. He was previously a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal.

Popular Mechanics is read by 9.6 million people every month. With more than 100 years of expertise in covering science and technology, the magazine is ideally equipped to confront the rumors surrounding 9/11 and explore the evidence with scientific facts.

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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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 46 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2006

    Yellow Journalism -- Hearst Wrote the Book on it

    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.

    17 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Definitive Answer to the Gullible

    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.

    16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2006

    A reviewer

    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.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2006

    Already disproven

    The entire book was debunked before it was published, it was already in the process of being published so it still came out. Chemical evidence proves the towers were blown up. I'd love to believe that all the myths are untrue, but the physical evidence is points to Thermate. This book will may ultimately be the undoing of McCain's political career. It might be an interesting read for someone who wants to know the best counter arguments (Thermite torches), or prevent McCain from winning his next election.

    10 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book avoids confronting the best evidence, or maybe it is just out of date. Instead it plays on the readers emotions and tries to convince them that all conspiracy theories are backed by nuts. Are there crazy conspiracy theories out there? Of course. But not all conspiracy theories are wacko. Let me remind you that the official conspiracy theory has yet to be proven, so you are just as crazy to believe that one. I am not wanting the conspiracy theories to be true, because that makes life more difficult, but as of today the conspiracy theorists are winning the debate reguardless of what I want to be true. This book is a way for people to come up with nice pat answers and to avoid the truth, so that they can go on living. Meanwhile the tough questions have been unfairly put in the realm of conspiracy theory.

    8 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2006

    Good Book

    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!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2006

    Scully and Mulder

    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.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    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.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2006

    This book is pathetic

    This book is no accurate at all. Building 7 was the farthest building from the twin towers, yet fell, in what was controlled demoliton. Larry Silverstein admited this on a Pbs documentry when he said they decided to pull it. Firefighter testimony says that there bombs going off in the building, including the lobby. This book ignores all the important points and focuses on the straw man arguements

    6 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2007

    Whether you trust the government or not, these myths are busted!!

    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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2006

    5 Stars for all the wrong reasons...

    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.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2006

    Some people just chose to ignore the truth...

    This book is written by a certain group of people he REFUSE to believe the government would ever do anything like this. Even if you do not believe 9/11 was planned by someone other then Al Qaeda, it is just not rational to believe that something like this could never be planned, BECAUSE IT ALREADY WAS ONCE. It was eventually not carried out, but the fact that it even EXISTED proves that this is not beyond our government to do something like this. Operation Northwoods, or Northwoods, was a 1962 plan to generate U.S. public support for military action against the Cuban government of Fidel Castro as part of the U.S. government's Operation Mongoose anti-Castro initiative. The plan, which was not implemented, called for various false flag actions, including simulated or real state sponsored acts (such as hijacked planes) on U.S. and Cuban soil. The plan was proposed by senior U.S. Department of Defense leaders, including the highest ranking member of the U.S. military, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Louis Lemnitzer. You can read about more on WIkipedia. This is a FACT supported by actual declassified documention.

    4 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2006

    Facts in context

    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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2006

    Not just for right wingers.

    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.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2006

    This is the blue pill...

    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.

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2007

    very good analysis of actual evidence

    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'

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2006



    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2006

    Debunking the Debunkers

    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.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Solid Argument

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Easy Read

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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