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102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight…

102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin… (2005)

by Jim Dwyer

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1,0374312,139 (4.11)47
  1. 40
    A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Both use same technique of minute-by-minute disaster survivor vignettes.
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    Columbine by Dave Cullen (JechtShot)

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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
I read this in commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. This book was absolutely gut wrenching. It fact it was so emotionally draining that I had to put it down at times to take a breath and remind myself that I was not trapped in a smokey tower, almost two thousand feet off the ground with no means of escape. As I read it felt like I was traveling through the towers as I spent the last moments of people lives with them.

What I take away from this book was no matter how evil the terrorists were and how destructive their act, it was overcome with pure goodness in thousands of ways and by thousands of people. Frank DiMartini and his group were directly responsible for saving 70 people before ultimately losing his life. He could have left the tower with his wife but he kept going up to the impact zone in order to save whoever he could. Abe Zelmanowitz wouldn't leave his paraplegic friend Ed Beyea even though he could have evacuated and saved his own life. Orio Palmer, a firefighter who arrived at the South Tower, fixed an elevator to take him to the 41st floor sky lobby and from there ran up 37 flights of stairs to go into the impact zone. Once there he gave comfort to survivors and directed them to escape routes. Countless first responders who stayed with people they were helping to evacuate even when the news finally came that the towers were in danger of falling. An act of evil on a terrible day overcome with heroism and love, that is what I take away from 9/11. ( )
  arielfl | Sep 15, 2016 |
There are so many chaotic moments about 9/11 that you struggle to comprehend as actual reality.
An officer stationed at a door whose duty was to watch for falling bodies and flaming debris and to tell civilians when it was okay to run to safety. A thousand firefighters sharing four radio channels, who did not hear the warning to get out when it was a surety that Tower 1 was going to come down. People who walked down 80+ flights of stairs only to reach a courtyard with blood dripping down the windows. An $11/hour rent-a-cop who stayed at his post on a skylobby, waiting for rescue workers to come retrieve all the bodies around him. A 911 dispatcher talking to a man trapped on the floor above the impact point describing the floor melting and the ceiling coming down. A worker at the Marriott who was talking with a coworker in the lobby and, in that instant, there was only swirling dust and his friend had disappeared.

All that data is overwhelming and I could not keep everyone distinctly in my mind. Was he the guy in stairwell A with his friend? Which tower was this again? I know that I could not do as well collecting the stories of thousands of individuals and collating dozens of them into one narrative picture, so it makes this a hard book to rate. But there is so much to learn about humanity in the chaos and there are lessons to take away from what didn't work out on that day. ( )
  VictoriaPL | Sep 1, 2016 |
Great book. Very well researched and written. This edition had a new afterword written in 2006 and was brutally honest about the deficiencies that contributed to the amount of lives lost, due to lack of communication or lack of proper structural things that may have prevented the collapse and enabled more to survive. ( )
  bogopea | Apr 11, 2016 |
Great story! I cried several times throughout the book, it was just so emotionally uneasy at times. It's definitely a painful but thorough look into one of the nations greatest catastrophes. ( )
  elle-kay | Jan 27, 2016 |
Even after almost 8 years since this unspeakable act of terrorism I found it very difficult to read this book even though it was obviously well researched and at times very uplifting. Knowing that some of the stories included were of various people's last seconds on earth brought me to tears on more than one occasion. But, I also learned so much about the buildings that I never knew before. There were only 3 staircases per building, none of which were 'fire safe' staircases, mostly because that would cut down on rentable space. Some of the elevator shafts went for 78 floors without an opening (which has since been changed in the fire code to an opening every 3 floors). Police, firemen and the port authority basically had no communication between departments. People standing right next to each other manning the command post gave totally opposite instructions to those unable to escape their offices. Of course, nothing of this magnitude had ever been imagined so a certain amount of miscommunication had to be expected.
The stories of heroism and unbelievable bravery bring the book up from horrific tragedy to wonderment at what human beings are capable of. I am glad that I read it and I highly recommend it. But I cannot get the image out of my head of the man who refused to leave his wheel-chair-bound friend behind and head for safety himself. ( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
I can't imagine there will be another act of terrorism that will terrify us the way the attack on the World Trade Center did. In "102 Minutes" Dwyer and Flynn have done a remarkable job of resisting the temptations of hindsight. They have recreated the moments in which we lost our capacity for that kind of surprise and given us a fitting tribute to the people caught up in one of the great dramas of our time. And for people still haunted by the events of that day, reading "102 Minutes" provides a cathartic release.
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For Mary, Maggie, and Kevin - KF
For Julia Sullivan and Sheila Carmody and all who travel with them - JD
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First into the office on the 89th floor of 1 World Trade Center, as always, Dianne DeFontes shut the door behind her, then locked it with a bolt that slid up and down, into floor and ceiling.
By 9:02 the boomerang of alarm and assurance had driven Stanley Praimnath from the 81st floor to the lobby, then back again to his office. The phone was ringing as he returned, and he picked it up to hear the voice of a colleague from Chicago, urgently inquiring after his well-being. "Are you okay?" the woman asked Praimnath. "Yes, I'm fine," he assured her. "Stan, are you watching the monitor-are you watching the news to see what is going on?" she asked. "Yes," he assured her again. "I'm fine." As he spoke, Praimnath spun his seat around so he was facing in the direction of the window, though he was not staring out. His window looked south over New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, the light trails of froth cut in the slate colored water by the stready traffic of ships and tugs and ferries. From the corner of his eye, he glimpsed an unfamiliar shape on the horizon. Praimnath turned slightly, to look square out the window. An airplane. It was heading toward his office, toward his window, it seemed. He could see the red and blue marking and the letter U as it approached. He dived under his desk, screaming to God, as his colleague in Chicago listened on the phone and watched the television screen in horror. In the length of a drawn breath, the ceiling collapsed. The time was 9:02:59 A.M., and United Airlines Flight 175 now plunged through the south tower of the World Trade Center, including the room where Stanley Praimnath had jumped beneath his desk. The plane had banked slightly at the last second, its wingspan running diagonally across nine floors, from 77 to 85. The Mizuho/Fuji office was at the center of it. Praimnath's room was torn to bits. Wires and cubicles and drywall slumped into a tangle at once sinister and silent. The wing of the jet was jammed into a door; twenty feet from where Praimnath, still alive, huddled beneath his desk.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805080325, Paperback)

In 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, New York Times writers Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn vividly recreate the 102-minute span between the moment Flight 11 hit the first Twin Tower on the morning of September 11, 2001, and the moment the second tower collapsed, all from the perspective of those inside the buildings--the 12,000 who escaped, and the 2,749 who did not. It's becoming easier, years later, to forget the profound, visceral responses the Trade Center attacks evoked in the days and weeks following September 11. Using hundreds of interviews, countless transcripts of radio and phone communications, and exhaustive research, Dwyer and Flynn bring that flood of responses back--from heartbreak to bewilderment to fury. The randomness of death and survival is heartbreaking. One man, in the second tower, survived because he bolted from his desk the moment he heard the first plane hit; another, who stayed at his desk on the 97th floor, called his wife in his final moments to tell her to cancel a surprise trip he had planned. In many cases, the deaths of those who survived the initial attacks but were killed by the collapse of the towers were tragically avoidable. Building code exemptions, communication breakdowns between firefighters and police, and policies put in place by building management to keep everyone inside the towers in emergencies led, the authors argue, to the deaths of hundreds who might otherwise have survived. September 11 is by now both familiar and nearly mythological. Dwyer and Flynn's accomplishment is recounting that day's events in a style that is stirring, thorough, and refreshingly understated. --Erica C. Barnett

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:38 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Of the millions of words written about September 11, 2001, most were told from the outside looking in. "New York Times" reporters Dwyer and Flynn have taken the opposite and far more revealing-approach, capturing the little-known stories of the nearly 12,000 ordinary people who took extraordinary steps to save themselves and others. They tell the dramatic and moving account of the struggle for life inside the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, when every minute counted. At 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001, 14,000 people were inside the twin towers -- reading e-mails, making trades, eating croissants at Windows on the World. Over the next 102 minutes, each would become part of a drama for the ages, one witnessed only by the people who lived it -- until now. New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn rely on hundreds of interviews; thousands of pages of oral histories; and phone, e-mail, and emergency radio transcripts. They cross a bridge of voices to go inside the infernos, seeing cataclysm and heroism, one person at a time, to tell the affecting, authoritative saga of the men and women -- the 12,000 who escaped and the 2,749 who perished -- who made 102 minutes count as never before.… (more)

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