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)
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.
Of course this was not a novel ? nor written as well as one. However, it was still a very hard story (intriguing historical account) to put down. Well organized and very understandable. The only bad thing is that it is nonfiction. Spend the $5 and get this report.
This is an important work and gives good insight into the interagency and intelligence processes, the origins of the Islamist extremist threat, and the events of 9/11. Because it offers more detail than most people can probably bear, it may be better to buy the book so you can skip the parts that are not interesting to you. The narration is questionable at times, but bearable. Worth the price.
What the careful listener will hear in this report is what was publically buried for the sake of bi-partisan agreement - that while there had been a growing awareness of and response to terrorism the Bush Administration was so determined to destroy the legacy of the previous administration that they ignored the evidence of a clear, present and immediate danger to the citizens of this country. The report provides clear evidence of the ideological hubris which blinded (and blinds) those responsible for the security of our nation from their task. Written clearly and concisely the Commission's report shows why the security of our country was compromised and why it continues to be. A must-read (hear) for understanding the state of the world today!
I was very impressed with the quality of the presentation as well as with the narration. It helped clarify for me many issues of timing and planning that I had questions about. I especially enjoyed many of the pithy quotes which I am glad were leftt in. It made it less sterile and clinical. I am indebted to Audible for bringing it at such as reasonable price.
The 9/11 commissioners are to be commended for their work and for this document. The report provides detail and explanations that I never heard in the popular media. It's a real education, and I appreciate its being made so widely available.
This balanced and unbiased review of the events that led to the tragedy of 9/11 is simply astounding. The Commission did an admarable job in sifting through the often-times conflicting evidence and putting together a comprehensive and comprehensable analysis of all aspects that terrible day. The narratives of Chapter 1, which describes the hijackings and the heroism of the victims, and Chapter 9, which discusses the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center are well told and absolutely heart-wrenching. Other portions of the text, such as the descriptions of the legal impediments to intelligence agencies sharing information or the ins and outs of tracing terrorist financing, were a little bit dry (but absolutely necessary to get the whole picture). The recommendations made by the Commission were broad and far reaching, although often lacking in specifics. Particularly surprising to me was the recommendation that a committee be apointed to ensure that civil liberties are safeguarded and the encouragement of an open and tollerent discussion of the Constitutional aspects of our efforts to protect ourselfs from another attack. The Commission took great pains to show that American can be tough on terrorism while still protecting the values and freedoms that make this country great. All responsible citizens and voters should read this report to remember what occurred on that day and to make sure that we do not allow complacency and politics to allow another terrorist plot to succeed.
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