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A gripping and authoritative account of the September 11th attack, its historical roots, and its aftermath
Few news stories in recent memory have commanded as much attention as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but no news organization rivaled The New York Times for its comprehensive, resourceful, in-depth, and thoughtful coverage. This effort may well emerge as the finest hour in the paper's distinguished 150-year history.
In an unprecedented commitment, the Times assigned one of its most skilled reporters, Richard Bernstein, to turn the newspaper's brilliant and incisive reporting into a riveting narrative of September 11th. Following the lives of heroes, victims, and terrorists, Bernstein weaves a complex tale of a multitude of lives colliding in conflagration on that fateful morning. He takes us inside the Al Qaeda organization and the lives of the terrorists, from their indoctrination into radical Islam to the harrowing moments aboard the aircraft as they raced toward their terrible destiny. We meet cops and firefighters, and become intimate with some of the Trade Center workers who were lost on that day. We follow the lives of the rest of America-ordinary citizens and national leaders alike-in the hours and days after the attack.
Finally, Bernstein chronicles the nation's astonishing response in the aftermath.
No account of this singular moment in American history will be as sharp, readable, and authoritative as Out of the Blue.
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In twenty years with The New York Times, Richard Bernstein has served as bureau chief at the United Nations and in Paris, as national cultural reporter, and currently as a daily book critic. Before that, he was the Beijing bureau chief for Time magazine. He has written five books, including The Coming Conflict with China (with Ross H. Munro) and, most recently, Ultimate Journey: Retracing the Path of an Ancient Buddhist Monk Who Crossed Asia in Search of Enlightenment. He lives in New York City.
Howell Raines is executive editor of The New York Times.
By the night of September 10, all nineteen men were in their final staging areas -- at hotels in Newark, in Maryland, in Boston, and in Portland, Maine. They had a final sheet of instructions provided by Atta that told them what they were supposed to do in their final night on earth. They were to shave excess hair from their bodies. They were to read al-Tawba and Anfal, the traditional war chapters in the Koran and to reflect on the things that God has promised the martyrs. "Remind your soul to listen and obey," the instructions read. "And remember that you will face decisive situations that might prevent you from one hundred percent obedience, so tame your soul, purify, convince it, make it understand, and incite it."
Probably the men read those paragraphs and reflected on the magnificent deeds they would accomplish for the sake of God and His glory the next morning. Still, there is an almost poignant gesture by one of them, Ziad Jarrah, the young Lebanese who had asked his parents for $700 so he could have some fun. Early on the morning of September 11 he called his girlfriend in Germany. Later she told police that he sounded normal. He said that he loved her.
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