102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

4.4
The dramatic and moving ccount of the truggle for life inside the World Trade Center on the evening 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.

Of the illions of words written about this wrenching day, most were told from the outside looking in. New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn have taken the opposite-and far more revealing-approach. Reported from the erspectives of those inside the towers, 102 Minutes captures the little-known stories of ordinary people who took extraordinary steps to save themselves and others. Beyond this stirring panorama stands investigative reporting of the first rank. An astounding number of people actually survived the plane impacts but were unable to escape, and the authors raise hard questions about building safety and tragic flaws in New York 's emergency preparedness.

Griffin and Flynn rely on hundreds of interviews with rescuers, thousands of pages of oral histories, and countless 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 soldier and women-the nearly 12,000 who escaped and the 2,749 who perished-as they made 102 minutes count as never before.
102 Minutes is a 2005 National Book ward Winne for Nonfiction.
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Original Series
Year of the Publication
Authors
Publication Date
Published January 10th 2006 by Times Books (first published January 12th 2005
Original Title of the Book
102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers
Number of Pages
384

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gave it

Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn- images from the National Book Foundation 102 Minutes covers the time from the initial impact at World Trade Center# 1, the North ower, to its collapse 102 minutes later.

gave it

I originally started reading it because of the technical explanations it had for all the stuff I never understood fully: the lack of ommunications, the faulty design of emergency exits in the towe, the layout of the buildin, the timing of the even, and so forth.

And their narration ends, just like that.I spent a lot of time crying, and I really do n't recommend this read to you if you do n't have closure yet, or if you do n't care to know the technical details of the terrorist attack.

gave it

A brilliant book that accomplishes the seemingly impossible: Presenting chaos and destruction in an orderly and cogent manner.

gave it

Exhibit P200017 is a split-screen video: on the ight side of the screen is the South Tower of the World Trade Center; on the eft side of the screen, you see the transcript of Cosgrove ’ s final call to 911 dispatch, which begins at 9:53 a.m. The audio of Cosgrove ’ s call plays over the split screen, while the tower burns and the seconds slip away.

She probably didn ’ t know it at the time, but there was no power on heaven and earth that could ’ ve reached Kevin Cosgrove on the 78th Floor of Tower 2.

Indeed, from the first momen of the disaster, a fire chief reportedly told New York ’ s mayor Rudy Giuliani that rescue above the impact zones was impossible.

For obvious reasons, including the mass casualties and the reaso the disaster played out on live television, the tragedy of the Twin Towers has come to symbolize September 11.

In 102 Minutes, reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn accept this reality and narrowly focus their story on the World Trade Center and the individuals within.

The subtitle of 102 Minutes purports to tell the “ untold ” story of the Twin Towers.

Published six years ago, the incidents in 102 Minutes no longer qualify as untold ( indeed, in a tenth anniversary reissue, the ook has a new subtitle that substitutes the adjective “ unforgettable ”).

For instance, there is Brian Clark, a roker for Euro Bank in Tower 2, who was one of only four survivors above the impact zone.

Flynn& Dwyer also tell of the remarkable escape from a stalled elevator.

Unfortunately, most of the stories recounted by Dwyer& Flynn lack a happy ending.

Dwyer& Flynn do more than record 102 minutes of suffering and survival, doom and escape.

They intercut these chapters with detailed and eye-opening examinations about the safety and security of the World Trade Centr, and the ffectiveness of the rescue operatio.

Dwyer& Flynn raise serious concerns about the rebuildin of the Twin Towers, noting that their very design ensured the deaths of just about every worker above the impact zones.

The 1968 code reduced the number of stairways required for buildings the size of the owers from six to three.

To their credit, Dwyer& Flynn also critique the emergency response to Twin Towers attacks.

With journalistic precision, Dwyer& Flynn recount the miscues of the rescue operation.

After the first tower fell, there was no way to get word to all the units in the second tower, and the consequences were predictable: Nearly all the 6,000 civilians below the impact zone had left the north tower by the time of its collapse, a fact hard to square with the justification that most of the approximately 200 firefighters who died in the north tower could not get out because they were busy helping civilians.

On the 19th floor of the sout ower, scores of doomed firefighters were seen…taking a rest break in the final hour, coats off, axes against the wall, soaked in sweat…Defenders of the response point to the unprecedented nature of the World Trade Center attacks.

Dwyer& Flynn also fault him for locating the Office of Emergency Management in World Trade Center 7, right next door to the biggest ( both literally and figuratively) terrorist targets in the multivers.

But the best thing 102 Minutes does is to show the courage of the ordinary workers, those people who kept their heads about them, even without years of training and conditioning.

Just about everyone below the impact zones – some 12,000 people – survived.

And they weren ’ t rescued; they saved themselves, evacuating in what Dwyer& Flynn call a “ mass of civility. ” Meanwhile, civilians such as window washer Demczur and manager De Martini saved lives with their gut impulses.

Since good books are often entertaining to read, this leads us into dangerous territory.The short term answer is that 102 Minutes is a historical document, capturing and recording moments that get more distant every day.

Later generations, those who never watched the Towers fall, will meet Brian Clark and Ron Bucca and Kevin Cosgrove and others, and follow them through a short arc on the most trying day of their lives.

gave it

I do n't think I WANTED to know what happened inside The Towers ... it was just TOO close.

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