Dennis Smith, the acclaimed author of the bestselling Report From Engine Co. 82, was among the many who volunteered to help in the rescue efforts on September 11, 2001. Smith, an ex-fireman himself, had a personal stake: Many of the 343 missing "Bravest" were friends and colleagues. There's no one more qualified to chronicle the three-month rescue effort at Ground Zero.
No matter how well told, insightful, or compelling the stories areand almost to a one, they fit that descriptionthe book demands breaks.
Smith has captured the horror and chaos of those first terrifying hours, and the ensuing anger and grief and determination.
In words as devastatingly heartbreaking as the photo on the book's cover, Smith uses his skill as a writer to capture the horrors of September 11, 2001. Smith is a retired New York City fireman and author of the bestselling Report from Engine Co. 82, so he is able to convey the mind-set of this "brotherhood." The firefighters, rescue workers, and police personnel who responded to the World Trade Center attack all went into this cataclysm to do their job-to rescue as many people as they possibly could. The author captures the raw emotion of the event as seen through the eyes of people who survived and also as a participant during the search and rescue mission. A cast of actors present the testimonies of survivors, making this work even more gripping. Excellently performed, Report from Ground Zero is highly recommended for all libraries.-Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The first-person narratives in this account of the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center constitute a tremendously powerful chronicle of September 11th. The language of the firefighters and police officers is blunt and vivid, the details are sharply etched, and the fractured stories -- particularly of those who were inside the towers but somehow escaped -- offer a Cubist vision of the day's chaos. The book's description of the disaster's aftermath is less successful: Smith conveys the ritualistic and sacramental nature of the search for the victims' remains, but he lapses too frequently into sentimentality and abstract meditations on patriotism and courage. The author, who also wrote the gripping "Report from Engine Co. 82," does best when he lets the images speak for themselves: the airplane luggage scattered across the plaza; the waves of firemen disappearing into the stairwells; the indelible sound -- "like an M-80 firecracker," one man says -- of bodies hitting the ground; and the moment when suddenly there was "nothing but dust."
"Tremendously powerful." —The New Yorker
"Mr. Smith has captured the horror and chaos of those first terrifying hours, and the ensuing anger and grief and determination. He has also captured the courage of New York city's firefighters and the spirit of the city's firehouses, bloody but unbowed in the wake of that terrible September morning." —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"To say the book is moving is an understatement." —Amazon.com