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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
While Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds begins as a gripping account of a tragedy, it quickly becomes a strong celebration of the human spirit. When ASA Flight 529 left Atlanta, Georgia, on August 21,1995, it was bound for Gulfport, Mississippi. There were 29 people on board, a passenger list that was a microcosm of small-town America.
Twenty-nine people, passengers and crew, with 29 complements of dreams, fears, hopes, and plans for the days and weeks ahead. One passenger was starting a new job, another was worried about sales, an older couple faced retirement, and another was looking for work.
When a blade failed in the propjet, the small plane dropped from the sky after a harrowing 9 minutes and 20 seconds. This is the story that Pomerantz retells, as he winds down the clock as the disaster unfolds.
The narrative moves from person to person, telling each of their individual stories leading up to the fatal flight, and describing their behavior during those crucial moments, and what it was like both for those who survived and for the families of those who did not. Ultimately, 10 people perished as the plane tumbled into what became a fiery cornfield. Some died immediately; others lingered, a few for a long time. The 10 died terrible deaths, some sacrificing their lives while trying to save others.
Inevitably, a book such as this leads us to wonder of ourselves: What would we do in similar circumstances? Our answers might differ widely; in Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds, Gary Pomerantz vividly and respectfully captures what these courageous 29 faced, and how the crash changed everything for them and their loved ones. Elena Simon