7 books on the 9/11 attacks, Arts News & Top Stories


SINGAPORE – On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, here are seven books that reflect on this pivotal moment in history.

1. In the shadow of the towers

By Art Spiegelman
Graphic novel / Viking / 2004 / Hardcover / 48 pages / $ 91.08 / Available here

Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist best known for his graphic novel on the Holocaust Maus (1980-1991), witnessed first-hand the 9/11 attacks and responds in this visual memoir. It was first serially published as a comic book in the German newspaper Die Zeit from 2002 to 2004 because mainstream American publications would not publish it.

2. 102 minutes

By Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn
Non-fiction / Times Books / 2005 / Paperback / 400 pages / $ 40.95 / Available here

Journalists from the New York Times recount the minutes between the first plane crash and the collapse of the North Tower, taken from accounts, messages and transcripts of conversations of those trapped in the World Trade Center.

3. Extremely strong and incredibly close


By Jonathan Safran Foer
Fiction / Penguin Books / 2005 / Paperback / 368 pages / $ 19.26 / Available here

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell, still mourning the death of his father in the bombings, discovers a key hidden in a vase in his father’s closet and sets out on a hunt around New York to find the story behind it, as well as closing for its loss. The novel was adapted into a 2011 film starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.

4. The impending tower


By Lawrence Wright
Non-fiction / Penguin Books / 2006 / Paperback / 576 pages / $ 25.02 / Available here

Wright, a New Yorker writer, won the Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction for his seminal story about how 9/11 happened and the men who made it possible – Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri – as well as Federal Bureau of Investigation counterterrorism chief John O’Neill, who tried to hunt down Al Qaeda before the attacks and died in the collapsing towers.

5. The falling man


By Don DeLillo
Fiction / Pan Macmillan / 2007 / Paperback / 256 pages / $ 21.95 / Available here

“It was no longer a street but a world, a time and a space of falling ashes and near night,” writes DeLillo in his novel, in which a lawyer, Keith, survives the collapse of the towers and arrives injured on the doorstep of his wife Lianne.

They sail in the aftermath of the attacks, as a performance artist known as Falling Man begins to appear around New York City, suspended head-first in a harness in reference to the controversial Associated Press photo of a man falling from the north tower.

6. The reluctant fundamentalist


By Mohsin Hamid
Non-fiction / Penguin Books / 2007 / Paperback / 224 pages / $ 19.26 / Available here

In a cafe in Lahore, a young Pakistani, Changez, tells an American foreigner the story of his life, including his time in the United States as a well-to-do analyst and how post 9/11 politics finally got him. brought back to Lahore, where he became an anti-American activist. The Booker Prize shortlisted novel was adapted for film in 2012 by director Mira Nair.

7. The only plane in the sky


By Garrett Graff
Non-fiction / Avid Reader Press / 2019 / Paperback / 528 pages / $ 31.59 / Available here

Journalist Graff pulls together a heart-wrenching oral history of 9/11 from nearly 500 people, such as the firefighter looking for his wife at the World Trade Center; the telephone operator has asked to convey the last words of a passenger to his family; and those aboard Air Force One, which, while flights across the country were grounded, remained the only aircraft in the sky.

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