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


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The first conspiracy theories about September 11 began to emerge while the wreckage was still smoldering. Today, nearly five years later, hundreds of books and thousands of Web pages are devoted to the idea that the U.S. government encouraged, permitted, or actually carried out the attacks. These theories claim to be based on hard evidence. But an in-depth investigation by POPULAR MECHANICS—first published in the magazine’s March 2005 issue, and now greatly expanded into book form—definitively proves that the evidence most often cited by conspiracy theorists is inaccurate, misinterpreted, or false.
The original article in Popular Mechanics caused a huge groundswell of interest, setting off online debates that continue to this day. Debunking 9/11 Myths expands that investigation to include the 20 most prominent and persistent claims underlying the conspiracy theories, focusing on concrete, physical facts rather than political hypothesizing. Among the issues examined: claims that air traffic control violated standard operating procedures by not immediately intercepting the stricken jets; that the fire caused by the crashes wasn’t actually hot enough to melt steel and cause structural damage in the World Trade Center; that the holes in the Pentagon were too small to have been made by a Boeing 757; and that Flight 93 was actually shot down by an Air Force plane.
The fascinating and in-depth findings come from leading experts in all the relevant fields, including aviation, air defense, air traffic control, civil engineering, firefighting, metallurgy, and geology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588166357
Publisher: Hearst
Publication date: 08/15/2006
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.48(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.61(d)

About 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.

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

What People are Saying About This

Richard Clarke

"9/11 Myths is a reliable and rational answer to the many fanciful conspiracy theories about 9-11. Despite the fact that the myths are fictitious, many have caught on with those who do not trust their government to tell the truth anymore. Fortunately, the government is not sufficiently competent to pull off such conspiracies and too leaky to keep them secret. What happened on 9-11 has been well established by the 9-11 Commission. What did not happen has now been clearly explained by Popular Mechanics."
former White House anti-terror advisor

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Debunking 9/11 Myths 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 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
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
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
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.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was originally published by Popular Mechanics as a much needed corrective to some of the misinformation surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Well researched and easy to read, this short book packs a big wallop in its relatively few pages. It's a shame that those trumpeting the conspiracy theories can so easily ignore or dismiss it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Effective denuding of the fevered idiocy of conspiracy nuts.
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.
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ManInTheSuit More than 1 year ago
Very well detailed, very well documented.Popular Mechanics is a very well rated magazine and here is doing exceptional job as well. Read it and after that judge. The authors are very open so they mention the claims and facts, their investigations and claimed investigation. This say a lot about how they treat the problem. Highly recommended to read (updated in 2010 version).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very good book that is good
Anonymous 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!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The top experts in every relevant field dissect the 9/11 conspiracy theories and shoot them down with the facts! Loved it!
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.