Summary and book reviews of Report From Ground Zero by Dennis Smith

Report From Ground Zero

The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center

by Dennis Smith

Report From Ground Zero
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2002, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2003, 400 pages

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Book Summary

Captures the horror and chaos of those first terrifying hours, and the ensuing anger and grief and determination.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 forever altered the American landscape, both figuratively and literally. Immediately after the jets struck the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Dennis Smith, a former firefighter, reported to Manhattan's Ladder Co. 16 to volunteer in the rescue efforts. In the weeks that followed, Smith was present on the front lines, attending the wounded, sifting through the wreckage, and mourning with New York's devastated fire and police departments.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book will be contributed by the author and publisher to the Foundation for American Firefighters.

Prologue
September 11, 2001, 8:48 a.m.

For decades to come people will ask of each other, where were you . . . ?

I am sitting with Arnold Burns, the chairman of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, talking about the needs of youth. I have known this former deputy attorney general of the United States for twenty-five years, and because I am on the board of a Boys & Girls Club in the South Bronx, I am also a member of his board of advisers. We happened to run into each other the way New Yorkers often meet, in unlikely places—in our case, sitting in a laboratory anteroom, waiting to have our blood drawn for annual exams. Suddenly, a nurse enters and exclaims that a plane has crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

I look at my watch.

It is 8:48 a.m.

In Manhattan most people arrive at their offices ten or fifteen minutes early. Many have carried little white bags from local coffee shops, and are just now taking seats at their desks, ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

New York Times - Michiko Kakutani

Mr. Smith has captured the horror and chaos of those first terrifying hours, and the ensuing anger and grief and determination. He has also captured the courage of New York city's firefighters and the spirit of the city's firehouses, bloody but unbowed in the wake of that terrible September morning.

Amazon.com

To say the book is moving is an understatement.

The New Yorker

... a tremendously powerful chronicle of September 11th. The language of the firefighters and police officers is blunt and vivid, the details are sharply etched, and the fractured stories -- particularly of those who were inside the towers but somehow escaped -- offer a Cubist vision of the day's chaos.

Reader Reviews

Billie Zahurak

Our reading group chose any number of books related to the events of 9/11/01 for our September 2002 meeting and I chose this one by Dennis Smith. What spoke to me most about this book is the fact that firefighters, before all else, are family. It ...   Read More

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