While few of us would tackle the printed version of the 9/11 CR, this production for readers on the go has emotional moments. The raw communications from civilians, operators, and firemen receive no elocution but paint chilling portraits. Five male narrators hustle their parts along, taking practiced turns at the one thousand Arabic names. The introduction lists the readers, but we guess who’s who. To indicate a direct quotation, one voice receives an echo. The hundreds of abbreviations shouldn’t be attempted in heavy traffic - in this report "GOP" means "Government of Pakistan." At less than five dollars for more than twenty hours, we thank the publisher for making this historic document so accessible.
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002. This independent, bipartisan commission had the task of producing a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the attack, including preparedness and immediate response, and providing recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.
The 9/11 Commission released their final report to the public on July 22, 2004. During the course of the Commission's 20-month investigation, the 10 commissioners and 80 staff members conducted more than 1300 interviews in 10 countries and reviewed more than 2 million documents. In the 17 days of public hearings, the commissioners heard testimony from 140 federal, state, and local officials, and private sector experts.
The Commission was composed of Chair Thomas H. Kean, Vice Chair Lee H. Hamilton, and Commissioners Richard Ben-Veniste, Fred F. Fielding, Jamie S. Gorelick, Slade Gorton, Bob Kerrey, John F. Lehman, Timothy J. Roemer, and James R. Thompson.
(P)2004 Audible, Inc.
"The prose is free from bureaucratese and, for a consensus statement, the report is remarkably forthright. Though there could not have been a single author, the style is uniform. The document is an improbable literary triumph." (The New York Times Book Review)
I expected a dry, factual report. I was surprised to see this is outstanding, both in its content and in the quality of the writers that produced it. The report contains the details we would expect regarding the events of 911, but I didn't expect the background material that sets the events, terrorism itself, and the ominous future we all face now in a historical context that makes it all the more frightening. Excellent narration too.
This report should be required reading in educational establishments all over the western hemisphere, as it explains how pointers were missed and/or ignored by government and intelligence agencies in the USA, with tragic consequences.
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis
Started out really great with a blow by blow discription on what passed in the planes as they were hijaked. Then went on to names and places I will never remember. Procedures followed then changes recommended. Not my cup of tea but i made it through to the end. One point made repeatedly in this report that stuck out. We won't be able to stop all attacks.
Part 1 of this chilling accounting is probably one of the best audio reads I've listened too...then, unfortunately, whomever produced the audio decided to change narators! Part 2 is narated very poorly, at a high rate of speed; making it extremely difficult to follow the details of what he is reading. I was imensly disapointed, and plan to write a letter to the production company. Hopefully you can get thru it and still get value out of the naration, but it made it too dificult for me -- I was very disapointed.
Although the 5 star-rating seems a bit overly dramatic, I think the rubric here is 3 - does not meet the standard (but if you buy it you'll finish it), 4 - partially meets the standard (good read but not life changing) and 5-exceeds the standard (captivates and makes you think differently). In short, this one is worth a listen. I did not expect to be entertained by a congressional commission but this often surreal story was captivating because it was nonfiction. It was enlightening to hear the story behind the media sound-bites of this tragic event.
At the beginning of every September, A&E takes a few hours away from 'reality' shows like "Duck Dynasty", "Storage Wars" and "Flipping (some American city hit hard by the Great Recession)" and shows actual reality - 9/11 documentaries, or somtimes, sanitized 9/11 docudramas. The History Channel sets aside "Ice Road Truckers" and "Ax Men" and returns to its roots and spends the weekend showing various aspects of 9/11, from a long interview of former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani to a three hour show exploring conspiracy theories.
I don't watch those shows, but it's not out of sense of boredom or a misplaced sense of outrage that basic cable is exploiting the anniversary. 9/11 is history, and just like my father has had a life long fascination with World War II (he was alive for the bombing of Pearl Harbor) I have a fascination for what happened, and why, that beautiful September morning. The reason I don't watch the shows is first, I'm really primarily a reader/listener; second, "The 9/11 Comission Report" (2004) is so thoroughly researched and well written, it was a finalist for a National Book Award, and no non-fiction show compares to it; and, finally, I was watching CNN as the attacks happened. I don't have to see what happened on video again. I remember all too well.
I read the entire book on line in 2004, and every year since then, I listen to parts of this book. I've been doing this long before I joined Audible. Since the book has always been in the public domain, it's been available through Librivox for years. The Librivox version was read by 19? 20? volunteer readers, the year of its release, and the quality ranges from astoundingly good to mediocre, especially with pronunciation of The Middle Eastern names. After 10 years of war, we are all mich better at Arabi names.
The question is, isn't whether the book is worth the time. It most definitely is. It's like reading/listening to a Tom Clancy on steroids. So, then, is it worth it to buy on Audible a book you can listen to or read on line for free? It definitely was and is for me. I was able to easily download it to my iPhone, although it's 200 + mB, so make sure you're on WiFi when you do. It's well narrated, and the production quality smooth. The speed of the narration is a bit of an issue - one narrator is much slower than the others. Listen to that narrator at 1.25 speed, and it's fine.
Which leads me to why I listen or read, year after year. I worry that I'll forget. No, I'll never forget some things - like watching the second plane crash into the other tower, as it happened. But I worry that I'll forget the littler things, like Barbara Olson, the wife of then Solicitor General Theodore Olson, was on Flight 77 when it was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon, and she called him during the hijack. Conservative Theodore Olson was fresh from successfully representing George Bush in Bush v Gore (2000). Theodore Olson subsequently turned to Gore's lawyer, David Boies, and together, they were responsible for overturning laws against same sex marriage. I wonder if somejow, that singular assault on democracy on 9/11 made Theodore Olson a formidable champion of civil rights for a group that hadn't been embraced by the political right.
This book also has the clearest explanation of Islam and the difference between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims that I've found. It explains a Caliphate - which is even more relevant today than it was 10 years ago, when the report was published. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (prosaically nicknamed ISIS) controls far more land than Osama bin Laden ever did.
I listen to remember; to think of how we all changed; and to keep trying to understand why.
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My concern before listening to this Report was that it might be too dry. After all, it is a government report and it is 20 hours long. I was pleasantly surprised. To me, it read like a well-researched history book. I thoroughly appreciated the detailed accounts of the events on that day, the equally detailed history of Bin Ladin and Al Quaida, as well as the extensive review of the response of the U.S. on many fronts. I want to listen to it again, and for a 20 hour government report, that is really saying something.
Tough to get through. Everything in this is important to hear but it is difficult to stay focussed. I feel much more informed having read it.
Overall a good listen, the first few hours are very dramatic describing nearly every minute of each flight, what happened, who knew what when, all the audio transmissions from the planes, etc. Very much like the United 93 movie but for all 4 planes. The on-ground description of the fire/police depts at the world trade center was a excellent but emotionally painful listen. The Roots of Terrorism, UBL, etc was also very good. But much of the report is focused on the US intel community, it is very detailed, probably too detailed for the average listener. Overall, excellant value for the money even if you only listen to the first several hours.
Surprisingly, this doesn't read like a government report at all. It's a good piece of journalism, a story of meticulously-planned terror well-told. It enlightens about the ways Al Qaeda, and our own government, operate. Many conclusions can be drawn from it, but a few are tragically unavoidable: when it came to Al Qaeda our government--under both party administrations--and its agencies were, at best, half asleep at the wheel for the 9 years leading up to the disaster. This applies to all levels of government, from national to local, responsible for our defense and safety.
I'm now listening to the part that describes the events inside the Twin Towers and in NYC's emergency services'responses to them, from the plane crashes to the collapse of the buildings. Despite real heroism by hundreds of individuals: fire fighters, police and civilians, the emergency preparedness was poor and the interagency coordination there was horrible. These definitely resulted in hundreds of deaths in NYC that could have been prevented, just as the whole attack could have been prevented by better policy, deployment, and coordination between agencies at the national level.
I'm a late-comer to this book, but find it compelling even now, after almost five years have elapsed since the attack. If you haven't read it or heard it I highly recommend you do.
Also, you might visit Google Video's collection of 9/11 videos.
"Surprisingly 'wet' -"
I bought this because the price was so cheap. My expectation was that it was going to be a very dry congressional report that reads like an encyclopedia. To my surprise, it was a very well written, narrated , and interesting account of 9/11. Its more like a book than a report. If you think you heard it all about 9/11; you haven't. This takes you into the middle of everything that happened on that day and leading up to it. It guarantees to offer something you had not heard in the past 10 years.
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