Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11

Overview


Damon DiMarco's Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11 eternally preserves a monumental tragedy in American history through the voices of the people who were in Lower Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City on that fateful day.

The stories DiMarco has collected come from a diverse group of human beings: individuals who managed to escape from the Towers; the bereaved of 9/11; the policemen, firemen, paramedics, reporters, and volunteers who risked their lives to help others; ...

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Overview


Damon DiMarco's Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11 eternally preserves a monumental tragedy in American history through the voices of the people who were in Lower Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City on that fateful day.

The stories DiMarco has collected come from a diverse group of human beings: individuals who managed to escape from the Towers; the bereaved of 9/11; the policemen, firemen, paramedics, reporters, and volunteers who risked their lives to help others; eyewitnesses who stood in shock on the streets below the Towers; WTC structural engineers, political experts, political dissidents, small business owners, and, of course, children whose lives will be forever impacted by the horror and chaos they witnessed.

In the tradition of Studs Terkel, DiMarco's moving oral history chronicles the stories of everyone from the small group of people who miraculously made it safely down from the 89th floor of Tower 1 to the New York Times reporter trying desperately to fight her way through the fleeing crowds into Lower Manhattan, to the paramedic who set up a triage area 200 yards from the base of the Towers before they collapsed to the ordinary citizens of New York City who tried to get on with their lives in the days following the tragic event.

This expanded second edition of DiMarco's literary time capsule includes follow-up interviews that track contributors' lives in the years since 9/11, as well as dozens of never-before-published photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The material it offers is unique, a multitude of firsthand experiences preserved as few other 9/11 books have done."  —Library Journal

"Humanizes stark fact and grants us the priceless opportunity to reach our own understanding of the event we must never forget."  —Bill Baroni, New Jersey General Assembly, 14th legislative district

"This is oral history at its finest."  —The Richmond Post-Dispatch

"This volume defends the understanding, as also the horror, of that day. We are indebted to Mr. DiMarco for the effort and for the editorial acuity."  —William F. Buckley

"I hope this book remains in print for a very long time to come, because everyone should read it. Our children should read it. With regard to 9/11, we—as a people—cannot allow a myth to take root. We must ground ourselves in our pain if we have any hope of moving forward. And move forward we must."  —Thomas Kean, chairman, 9/11 Commission

William F. Buckley
This volume defends the understanding, as also the horror, of that day. We are indebted to Mr. DiMarco for the effort and for the editorial acuity.
Publishers Weekly

The only widely available oral history of 9/11 from the perspective of New Yorkers, this monumental work (originally released by Revolution in 2004) has been updated for the sixth anniversary of the national tragedy. In the weeks following the World Trade Center attack, DiMarco, in the tradition of Studs Terkel, wandered Manhattan collecting the stories of Gothamites who survived the collapse of the towers, as well as those who came to help or simply bore witness-whether from elsewhere in the city, across the country or overseas. Two major themes emerge, the first concerning the heroism of common decency: Florence Engoran, five months' pregnant on the day of the attack, was helped down 55 flights of stairs by near strangers, "two men [who] promised that they were gonna stay with me the whole time down, which they did." In the same vein, Jan Demczur relates how he used his window washing tools to save himself and an elevator full of people, and Dr. Walter Gerasimowicz tells of the men who aided him when he was forced to evacuate without his crutches. The rigors of loss and mourning make a second theme: Patrick Charles Welsh, whose wife perished on flight 93, says, "I was so devastated by this unheard cry of souls . . . This moan of humanity going straight up to heaven." Though a good idea, the scholarly essays that close the book, concerning the U.S.-Middle East relations, feel off-puttingly distant compared to the stories that precede them. DiMarco's contribution to the memory of that horrific day is enormous; the testimonies collected here form an amazing, one-of-a-kind account. Photos. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Most oral histories are compiled by a person classified as editor. That DiMarco (theater arts, Drew Univ.) is labeled as author, as for his Heart of War: Soldiers' Voices from the Front Lines of Iraq, causes unnecessary confusion. (The Library of Congress CIP rightly clarifies that he is the editor.) Although the book's value as primary source documentation of a transforming catastrophe is diminished by its lack of an index, the material it offers is unique, a multitude of firsthand experiences preserved as few other 9/11 books have done. This second edition is expanded with many more photographs and with updates about a number of the witnesses interviewed. Recommended for all publicand undergraduate libraries.

See also September 11, 2001,a new entry in the "One Day in History" series to be reviewed, in LJ9/15/07.


—Margaret Heilbrun
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595800213
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 293,040
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author


Damon DiMarco's oral histories include Heart of War: Soldiers' Voices from the Front Lines of Iraq, a collection of first person narratives from U.S. veterans of the War in Iraq. DiMarco also collaborates on biographies, having penned Out of Bounds with Roy Simmons, the first former NFL player to publicly announce that he is HIV positive; and The Actor's Art & Craft with William Esper, an exploration and elaboration on the famous acting techniques pioneered by legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner (forthcoming from Random House in fall of 2007). DiMarco currently teaches in the theatre arts department of Drew University. He lives in New York City.

Thomas Kean is the chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

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