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Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the…

Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World… (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Dennis Smith

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299355,618 (3.89)18
Title:Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center
Authors:Dennis Smith
Info:Viking Adult (2002), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 366 pages
Collections:Your library

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Report From Ground Zero by Dennis Smith (2002)



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It's overwhelming to think of the amount of people who died on 9/11, so much so that its difficult to think how many in terms of just numbers. This book puts human faces to those numbers, both those that perished and those who survived and were left behind. The mateship of firefighters is something that's difficult to understand if you work in an office environment or similar, and that is a large focus of this book. Accounts are taken from different people at different times of the event, and those in particular that I hadn't heard before were of the firefighters trapped in the buildings, and their accounts of the collapses from the inside. For someone completely removed from this, it's a different account. But it's worthwhile remembering that the deaths suffered that day in context with what other countries deal with on a daily basis are mercifully low, and we should be thankful for that and remember how lucky we are to live in 'civilised' countries. But this book is a reminder how these things happen, what it's like when they happen, the fallout for individuals and their families, and why we should never stop working towards something like this never happening again. It goes without saying that we should all be in awe of these people who put themselves between us and danger every day. They are a unique breed. ( )
  LibraryOfRodAndCyn | May 31, 2014 |
Dennis Smith asks the question everyone can answer even nine years later, "where were you on September 11, 2001?" In Report From Ground Zero Smith asks key rescue personnel to recount the moments directly after seeing, hearing, or learning of the attack on the World Trade Center towers in Lower Manhattan. He calls each story a testimony. Smith starts by giving his own account which amounts to a litany of questions surrounding logistics and survival. As a retired New York City firefighter he anticipates the magnitude of destruction and ponders the challenges surrounding survival with great concern. As each rescue worker recounts that fateful, awful day a pattern starts to emerge. Initial disbelief turns into a sense of determination as the magnitude of destruction is fully realized. Every single response was to roll up the shirts sleeves, harden the jaw and with single minded pure grit get to work. After the dust has literally and figuratively settled other shared memories come to mind - how deathly quiet and dark everything became after the towers fell; how surreal the landscape. Like nothing they had even seen before or since. ( )
1 vote SeriousGrace | Oct 11, 2010 |
Dennis Smith was a firefighter for eighteen years. He wrote a famous book, [Report from Engine Co. 82], which made him a successful writer (2 million copies sold), but he kept his firefighter heart. Even in official retirement from the job, he carried the badge and title of an honorary chief in FDNY and served on the boards of several firefighter-related charities.

On Sept. 11, 2001, he showed up at Ground Zero, where the help of this retired but experienced firefighter (along with many other retired firefighters who volunteered their skills) was accepted in the rescue and recovery efforts. Early on, he determined to write a book, dedicated to the first responders who died that day -- and whose names are all listed in the dedication. While the book recognizes the fact of the civilian deaths, it is about the uniformed personnel, especially firefighters, who perished and their brothers (and a few sisters) in service who sought to bring them home.

The first section of the book (exactly half of the book) deals with the actual day September 11. It is comprised primarily of first-person accounts collected from those who responded to the alarms on that fateful day. There are a few exceptions: a few accounts from famly members of first responders; some accounts by Smith providing background about responders who perished and whose fate is recounted in subsequent stories by rescue personnel. These accounts are amazingly straightforward. While aware of the magnitude of the disaster, the danger to themselves, and the losses which were taking place around them, they remained, in large part, focused on the job they had to do. There is no melodrama in the telling of these stories, and not an ounce of self-pity -- but, then, there is plenty of drama in the straight facts. Some of these folks survived being buried alive -- and then, freed from the rubble, eventually went on to search for others.

The second half of the book details. day by day, the rescue and recovery efforts which followed the initial disaster. While the first half of the book had a goodly representation of police voices (NYPD and Port Authority), this half is almost exclusively a firefighter's story. We see the family nature of firefighting in New York City; many of the elder firefighters searching so faithfully at Ground Zero are searching for their missing sons. Public service, you see, seems to run in the blood; several families lost multiple members -- in one case two brothers, a firefighter and a police officer.

The book also chronicles the growing tension as operations morphed from rescue to recovery to clean-up. Firefighters have a strong ethic that none of their own shall ever be left behind at the scene of a tragedy. But the painstaking sifting of rubble for remains was a slow process; there were great pressures, economic and psychological, to get things cleaned up faster than a thorough recovery of remains allowed.

And through it all, the funerals and memorial services continued, as firefighters honored their fallen comrades -- facing the painful decisions regarding whose funerals to attend in the wake of so much death.

It is impossible for anyone who wasn't there to really, really grasp the reality of Ground Zero on 9/11 and the days that followed. But this book gave me a clearer glimpse than I've ever had before. It takes us into the heart and soul of the disaster at Ground Zero through the experiences of those on its front lines. It is a painful story, yet strangely uplifting as we witness the courage and integrity that these brave souls bring to their life's work. Recommended. ( )
5 vote tymfos | Nov 5, 2009 |
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9/11 (2002IMDb)
9/11 (2017IMDb)
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This Book Is Dedicated to Those 403 Brave Souls Who Went In to Help Others Get Out.
[The dedication goes on to list the 403 names of those who perished at Ground Zero who were members of the New York City Fire Department, the New York City Police Department, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.]
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For decades to come people will ask of each other, where were you . . . ?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067003116X, Hardcover)

"There is no center to this day, no middle or end. All its remaining minutes and hours will be collapsed into that single instant at 8:48 a.m. when September 11, 2001, became the saddest day of our history," writes Dennis Smith, a retired New York City firefighter. Shortly after the two planes hit the World Trade Center towers, he volunteered to help in the rescue effort. In this diary of the three months following the attack, Smith combines his own observations with interviews of those involved in the work, creating a detailed day-by-day history of the massive effort to find life among the ruins. His 18 years of experience in the field and considerable writing skills (he is the author of Report from Engine Co. 82 and nine other books) make him uniquely qualified to cover these events. To say the book is moving is an understatement--it is often overwhelming and difficult to read. Report from Ground Zero exacts an emotional toll on the reader; writing it must have been heartbreaking. In chronicling the hope, courage, and compassion embodied by all of the rescue workers, Smith has performed yet another service to his country. Note: A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book will be contributed by the author and publisher to the Foundation for American Firefighters. --Shawn Carkonen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:31 -0400)

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"Immediately after two hijacked jets struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, Dennis Smith, a retired firefighter who had served eighteen years with the New York City Fire Department, reported to Manhattan's Ladder Co. 16 to volunteer in the rescue effort. Among those missing in the tragedy were 343 firefighters, many of whom were his friends and longtime colleagues. Having spent his career as both a respected writer and a member of one of the city's busiest firehouses, Smith became determined to use his unique background to tell the story of the disaster and its aftermath with the empathy and understanding that only an insider could bring to it." "Report from Ground Zero is a narrative of this three-month period, a time that has permanently altered the landscape and character of America."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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