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102 Minutes


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About the Author

Jim Dwyer is the coauthor of "Actual Innocence" and "Two Seconds Under the World," and the author of "Subway Lives." A Pulitzer Prize winner, he writes the About New York column for "The New York Times." He lives in New York City.Kevin Flynn, a special projects editor at "The New York Times," was the newspaper's police bureau chief on September 11, having previously worked as a reporter for the New York "Daily News," "Newsday," and "The Advocate" (Stamford). He lives in Connecticut.


It is September 11, 2001, and Dwyer and Flynn, veteran New York City newspaper reporters, take us into the 102 minutes of hell experienced by those in the World Trade Center between the time the first jet crashed into the north tower and the last standing tower toppled. While other accounts have focused on the members of NYFD and NYPD who responded to the catastrophe, this book tells the stories of scores of civilians. One might think that little good could be made of a situation in which at least 2700 persons died-hundreds needlessly owing to misguided instructions to stay at their posts, a building designed more to minimize unrentable space (i.e., stairways and elevators) than to save lives, failure to learn from the previous terrorist bombing in 1993, and lack of communication between police and fire departments. We do, however, find light amid the grimness-the heroism of civilians who chose to remain and rescue others, the loyalty of those who stayed with friends who could not escape, the strength of the human spirit itself. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/04.]-Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"A masterpiece of reporting . . . [102 Minutes] contains one story after another of harrowing escapes, immense heroism and heart-rending loss . . . Brilliant and troubling." --"The New York Times""""The chief virtue of 102 Minutes, Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn's unsparing, eloquent history of the struggle to survive inside the World Trade Center, is the authors' insistence that truth supplants myth." --John Farmer (Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission, former New Jersey Attorney General), "The Washington Post Book World """"It's just one of those great books of reporting, and you read it almost at one sitting with your hair on end. It tells you something about 9/11 that you may not have known before, and it does it by marshaling facts. "--Garrison Keillor "A heart-stopping, meticulous account . . . I suspect that you, like me, will read this book in a single suspenseful sitting, even though we know the ending." --"The New York Times Book Review""""An astounding reconstruction of what happened inside the World Trade Center . . . These are stories, after all, you have to share."--"Newsweek""""Exhaustively researched and smoothly written . . . Dwyer and Flynn's most impressive achievement: writing in a way that confers dignity on each subject. This is one book that will stay with most readers for a very long time." --"People""""Insightful, compassionate . . . unmistakably affirming."--"The Sun" (Baltimore) "For those of us haunted by the tragedy, an indispensable book." "--O Magazine" "Poignant, emotion-stirring and important...a story of how ordinary people exhibit extraordinary traits in times of peril."--Tom Walker, "Denver Post" "It took the authors three years to describe what happened in 102 minutes...The book is worth the wait." --Ingrid Ahlgren, "Providence Journal" "The writing - sometimes searing, sometimes factual but always appropriate - brings the human experience of disaster into focus." --Rosemary Herbert, "Boston Herald"

Drawn from thousands of radio transcripts, phone messages, e-mails and interviews with eyewitnesses, this 9/11 account comes from the perspective of those inside the World Trade Center from the moment the first plane hit at 8:46 a.m. to the collapse of the north tower at 10:28 a.m. The stories are intensely intimate, and they often stir gut-wrenching emotions. A law firm receptionist quietly eats yogurt at her desk seconds before impact. Injured survivors, sidestepping debris and bodies, struggle down a stairwell. A man trapped on the 88th floor leaves a phone message for his fiancee: "Kris, there's been an explosion.... I want you to know my life has been so much better and richer because you were in it." Dwyer and Flynn, New York Times writers, take rescue agencies to task for rampant communications glitches and argue that the towers' faulty design helped doom those above the affected floors ("Their fate had been sealed nearly four decades earlier, when... fire stairs were eliminated as a wasteful use of valuable space"). In doing so, the authors frequently draw parallels to similar safety oversights aboard the ill-fated Titanic nearly 90 years before. Their reporting skills are exceptional; readers experience the chaos and confusion that unfolded inside, in grim, painstaking detail. B&w photos. Agent, Philippa Brophy. (Jan. 12) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-In a compelling and clear writing style, Dwyer and Flynn use the words of victims and survivors to show what it was like to live through moments of despair and heroism inside the towers on 9/11. Using interviews, e-mails, telephone records, emergency radio tapes, and transcripts, the authors allow readers to experience the terror from the moment the first plane struck until the second tower fell. Diagrams of the buildings give a clearer sense of the mechanics of the tragedy. The passage of time has done nothing to diminish the heroism of citizens and rescue personnel alike whose lives where irrevocably changed by the events of that day. Introducing readers to some of the people who were there reminds us of the survival instinct and the willingness of individuals to help others while they themselves are in the direst of circumstances.-Peggy Bercher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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