The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11

The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11

by John Farmer
     
 

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Drawing on records that have only recently been released, John Farmer, the senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, presents a definitive account that captures the full suspense and ultimate tragedy of 9/11 and enlarges—and breathtakingly revises—our understanding.See more details below

Overview

Drawing on records that have only recently been released, John Farmer, the senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, presents a definitive account that captures the full suspense and ultimate tragedy of 9/11 and enlarges—and breathtakingly revises—our understanding.

Editorial Reviews

Jacob Heilbrunn
Now that numerous transcripts and tapes have been declassified…Farmer draws on them to assail the government's official depiction of 9/11 as so much public relations flimflam. Perhaps nothing perturbs Farmer more than the contention that high-ranking officials responded quickly and effectively to the revelation that Qaeda attacks were taking place. Nothing, Farmer indicates, could be further from the truth…Farmer's accomplishment is to throw 9/11 into fresh relief. A precise and reliable accounting of what happened has been absent until now. This is it.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Farmer, senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, updates the commission's report in this thorough and bipartisan analysis. Drawing on newly declassified records and recent investigative reports from the departments of defense and transportation, the author concludes that the failure to detect and prevent the attack “lay in the [bureaucratic] nature of modern government.” Most significantly, “rules proscribing information-sharing” within and among agencies meant that no one had complete access to all available intelligence or information—typical “bureaucratic inertia” that presaged the government's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina. Farmer faults the disconnect between decision-makers and operational employees, concluding that “leadership was irrelevant on 9/11” and the official version of events “was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue.” Farmer's conclusion that bureaucratic government “does not adapt fast enough to changing missions to be effective” is not original, but in his careful exegesis of the events of 9/11, he transcends easy generalizations to expose the fault lines in contemporary governance and point the way to fundamental reform. (Sept.)
Douglas Brinkley
"All Americans should read John Farmer's The Ground Truth. With keen analytical insight, Farmer rips the lid off of many mysteries pertaining to both the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. A highly recommended historical curative for our times."--(Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge)
Library Journal
What we think we know about 9/11 and what really happened are two different things, according to this new book by the former senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission. As someone who helped write the best-selling 9/11 Commission Report, Farmer now asserts that not only was the official version put forth by the government inaccurate but also that it conveyed a false sense of security. Using recently declassified and released sources, Farmer blends legal and political expertise to paint a startling revised picture of 9/11. Telling the story in successively decreasing units of time, he builds suspense and creates a compelling albeit disturbing narrative. The "ground truth" about what really happened should help us realize a second, more far-reaching truth: unless we correct serious systemic failures in our governmental organizations and operations, we will be doomed to repeat errors in future human-made (or natural) disasters. VERDICT This book sheds new light on the events surrounding 9/11 and the role of government in handling crises and also serves as a rallying cry for change. Essential. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/09.]—Leslie Lewis, Duquesne Univ. Lib., Pittsburgh
Kirkus Reviews
Senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission Farmer presents a dismaying catalogue of incompetence and dissembling before and after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The author makes excellent use of declassified primary-source documents from 9/11-including transcriptions of frantic last-minute phone calls of air-traffic controllers-to demonstrate how a massively funded national-security system, a relic of the Cold War, failed to counter a small band of terrorists. Bipartisan in assigning blame, Farmer believes that failure resulted from a bureaucracy-laden government. Information sharing was not only undercut by the constitutional separation of powers, but by boundaries between the CIA and FBI, even by limiting intra-agency recipients only to those on a "need-to-know" basis. He shows that the Clinton administration never sufficiently applied its pledge to warring national-security and law-enforcement players to "reinvent government," and that the Bush administration ridiculously claimed that by the end of the morning of Sept. 11, military and aviation officials were effectively coordinating responses. Communication on 9/11 was atrocious, the author notes, making all the more ironic the contentions of people like Richard Clarke "that their actions in those critical moments made a difference." The Department of Homeland Security merely widened the gulf between policy-makers and those on the ground struggling with crises-a fatal flaw underscored by the egregiously poor response to Hurricane Katrina. An important systematic brief on how an elaborately constructed national-defense system was penetrated, and why lessons of that day for disaster response remain dimly understood.
From the Publisher
"A startling revised picture of 9/11.... [Farmer] builds suspense and creates a compelling albeit disturbing narrative." —Library Journal Starred Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594488948
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.35(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

William Langewiesche
"Revelatory-Farmer makes shattering new sense of the day's events and exposes the true disarray and arrogance in the military and government responses."--(William Langewiesche, author of American Ground and The Atomic Bazaar)
Haynes Johnson
"In revisiting the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks that still haunt America, John Farmer provides a devastating account of how what government and military officials told Congress, the 9/11 Commission on which he served, the media, and the public 'was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue.' The result is a major, carefully documented and deeply disturbing book, one that deserves the most serious attention of every American concerned about our future."--(Haynes Johnson, Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author)
Jim Dwyer
"Physics teaches us that waves of the same frequency amplify each other. That's what brought down the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The Ground Truth reveals 9/11 as a manifestation of that same phenomenon, with waves of history cresting together. It does so with perfect clarity, thanks to the brilliance of finding, in the examples of two "minor" national security agencies, the dysfunctionality that plagued the mightiest-seeming arms of the government. I made the mistake of not writing down the first two or three times I felt goosebumps. The Ground Truth is superbly conceived and carried out. What a great book."--(Jim Dwyer, author of 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers)
Bob Kerrey
"No one is more qualified to write the definitive book about the tragedy of 9/11 than John Farmer. Fortunately, he has done so. Even more fortunately the language is clear, alive and instructive for anyone who wants to make certain this never happens again."--(Bob Kerrey, Former US Senator and Member of the 9/11 Commission)
From the Publisher
“Farmer’s accomplishment is to throw 9/11 into fresh relief. A precise and reliable accounting of what happened has been absent until now. This is it.” –Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times Book Review

“All Americans should read John Farmer’s The Ground Truth.” –Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge

“Inescapably convincing.” –Salem-news.com

“An important reexamination… almost thrillerlike in its narrative… As you read it, you may not know whether to laugh or cry.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Startling… compelling… disturbing. Essential.” –Library Journal

“A major, carefully documented, and deeply disturbing book, one that deserves the most serious attention of every American concerned about our future.” –Haynes Johnson, Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author

“Farmer deftly hones in on the nation’s bureaucratic morass leading up to September 11 and the government’s failure to respond on the day of the attacks, distinguishing his book from other accounts.” –The American Prospect

“No one is more qualified to write the definitive book about the tragedy of 9/11 than John Farmer. Fortunately, he has done so. Even more fortunately the language is clear, alive, and instructive for anyone who wants to make certain this never happens again.” –Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator and member of the 9/11 Commission

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