Friday, February 24, 2006

Off Topic: Book Recommendation - 102 Minutes

I know that this has nothing to do with Judaism or the frum community, but please bear with me.

I just finished reading 102 Minutes, by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn. The book covers what happened in the World Trade Center complex in the 102 minutes between when the first plane struck and when the last tower fell.

Based on interviews with survivors, friends and relatives, and transcripts of police/fire/911 recordings, Dwyer and Flynn reconstruct the stories of several dozen people who were in the towers that day, some of whom made it out and some of whom didn't. The book describes the rescue efforts, the problems that were faced by rescuers and workers based on building design, FDNY/NYPD/PAPD policies and the physical conditions created by the airplanes.

The book shows how many people were affected that day by the choices that they made - and how in many cases, those choices meant the difference between surviving and not making it.

Throughout the book, you get to know the people who were in the buildings, the firefighters and police officers who went in to the buildings to rescue people trapped, and the civilians who (some at the cost of their own lives) went through the building helping escape from trapped rooms, elevators and infernos.

I was about a block and a half away when the towers came down on Sep 11, 2001. I had been working in the neighborhood for almost ten years to that point, and had seen the towers on a daily basis and been in them many times. So, the even though I knew no one personally who died that day, I still feel a personal connection with the events of that day.

I found myself unable to put the book down, captivated by the accounts of people struggling to survive in such horrific conditions and others going into the buildings to rescue them.

As a side note, the book does recount the stories of two Orthodox Jews who were in the towers that day - Abe Zelmanowitz, who remained behind in the towers with a paraplegic friend, and Shimmy Biegeleisen, who was trapped above the crash zone.

The Wolf


AS said...

How could we ever forget that story about Abe sad.

A Simple Jew said...

I just ordered a copy of this book on your recommendation.

I actually was in NYC this week and visited Ground Zero on Monday so this posting was quite timely for me.