Understanding September 11

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9781565847743: Understanding September 11

When terrorists flew jets into World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the social effects were as dramatic as the visual images. Individual lives, families, friendship networks, corporations, global financial flows, and politics were all transformed. Moving beyond the headlines, first impressions, political speeches, and soundbites, Understanding September 11 is a basic resource for making sense of these changes. Knowledge from the social sciences fills in necessary background, provides contexts for interpretation, and offers vital analytic perspectives. It helps us see the underlying roots of the current crisis, as well as the influence of social change. It shows how religious and cultural factors intertwine with economic and security concerns. It allows us to make sense of the role of Islam, the impact on international relations, and the challenges for democratic societies.


Written by many of today’s foremost anthropologists, economists, historians, political scientists, and sociologists, Understanding September 11 offers the most complete account available, not just of terror and tragedy but of the challenges we now face, and the issues we must understand in order to make informed choices about our future.


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About the Author:

Craig Calhoun is the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was formerly University Professor at NYU, the director of the Institute for Public Knowledge, and the president of the Social Science Resource Council. His books include the prizewinning Neither Gods Nor Emperors, Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, and The Roots of Radicalism. His work has been translated into ten languages.

From Library Journal:

These three works would make an ideal companion set: the New York Times staff unveils a wealth of immediate reaction to the traumatic events of 9/11, couched in the almost lyrical narrative style of much great war reportage (Anthony Loyd's My War Gone By, I Miss It So comes to mind), while the twin volumes from the New Press show American and foreign scholars struggling to make sense of that day and its aftermath on a more analytical level. If there was any doubt that the Times deserved the slew of journalism awards it harvested for its 9/11 coverage, Out of the Blue should put it to rest. For Americans not directly touched by the tragedies the heroes and victims of that day have tended to recede into memory. In short, the events of barely a year ago are becoming history. This book's great virtue is that it counteracts that tendency, using personal stories to moor the attacks on the World Trade Center firmly in the lives and experiences of real people. By walking the reader again through those terrible hours, it reawakens the passions kindled when the Twin Towers fell. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/02.] If the Bernstein book presents a poignant journalistic account of 9/11, Critical Views of September 11 and Understanding September 11 constitute a first swipe at an analytical perspective on the attacks by a distinguished group of minds. Critical Views, a compendium of essays written by non-American analysts, assesses the perceptions overseas of the terrorist attacks, paying particular attention to how the United States is viewed around the world. The companion volume, Understanding September 11, by a host of American contributors, ranges through disciplines as varied as economics, negotiation theory, and security studies. Some of the essays don't quite manage the scholarly detachment typical of academic work. Yet by conveying how difficult it is to offer a dispassionate analysis of 9/11, even this slapdash quality will provide useful data for future historians. Public libraries could get by with just Out of the Blue but should preferably buy all three books; academic libraries should certainly purchase the set. All three works are strongly recommended.-James R. Holmes, Ph.D. candidate, Fletcher Sch. of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA editor's note: Numerous other books on 9/11 are appearing this fall. Among them are James B. Stewart's The Heart of a Soldier (S. & S.), which tells the story of Morgan Stanley security chief Rick Rescorla, who successfully evacuated all 2700 of his charges from the South Tower before taking one more risky trip inside. A Nation Challenged (New York Times/ Callaway) compiles the best of the New York Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning section of the same name into an oversized book of photographs and text that chronologically covers the war thus far, from burning Manhattan to the return of the doves to Mazar-i-Sharif. The victims of last September's attacks are memorialized by the staff of Newsday in American Lives: The Stories of the Men and Women Lost on September 11 (Camino), which presents selected stories of the victims, with an introduction and columns by Jimmy Breslin. Mitchell Fink and Lois Mathias let the survivors-including an 89-year-old evacuee of Tower 1-tell their stories of horror, bravery, and luck in Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11, 2001 (ReganBooks: HarperCollins).
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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