Touching History: The Drama that Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11 Audiobook | Lynn Spencer | Audible.com
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Touching History: The Drama that Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11 | [Lynn Spencer]

Touching History: The Drama that Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11

Lynn Spencer takes listeners right to the front lines as the realization hits that multiple hijackings are underway - and then that the country is under attack. She follows the story all the way through the end of the day, when the fog of war had finally lifted and the country could assess exactly what had happened.
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Publisher's Summary

Touching History is told through the eyes of commercial airline pilots, FAA and military controllers, jet fighters, and key military personnel at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its subunit, the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS). Personnel at the national FAA Command Center, also had to grapple with the bizarre and unprecedented nature of the attacks.

In a round-robin narrative, in the style of Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn's 102 Minutes, Lynn Spencer takes listeners right to the front lines as the realization hits that multiple hijackings are underway - and then that the country is under attack.

Spencer follows the story all the way through the end of the day, when the fog of war had finally lifted and the country could assess exactly what had happened. The drama unfolds from a variety of perspectives, including the computer screen of the comptroller who first noticed that American flight 11 was off course; the phone call from a stewardess onboard alerting American Airlines that hijackers had killed two flight attendants and entered the cockpit; the battle cab of the military commander who ordered fighter jets in the air; the NASA-like operations floor of the FAA Command Center; and the cockpits of a number of the 4,500 commercial airliners flying over the United States that morning.

Spencer conducted hundreds of interviews and spoke to every key player in the airline industry and military who was involved in the major air events of the day. Based on highly detailed accounts from these interviews, as well as on the voluminous records of radio transmissions, Spencer fills in many holes in the story as it was reported by the 9/11 Commission. She also brings to pulse-quickening life the confusion, the horror, and the fierce determination and quick thinking of so many key players as they improvised their responses to a shocking new type of warfare.

©2008 Luynn Spencer; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Spencer...expertly elucidates the complexities and pitfalls of American aviation as it faced a staggering challenge." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (61 )
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4.3 (24 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Laura Fairfield, IA, United States 02-29-12
    Laura Fairfield, IA, United States 02-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
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    Story
    "Riveting book"

    One of my favorite 9/11 accounts from the perspective of ATC and pilots, this is so interesting and well done, I've listened to it about 5 times, never get tired of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Shelby Township, MI, United States 07-10-11
    Peter Shelby Township, MI, United States 07-10-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    20
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    3
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    Overall
    "Overall, quite good."

    My only beef with this book is the narrator. There is something that sounds so ridiculous when a woman tries to sound like a man. Seriously, it reminds me of my kindergarten teacher telling a story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew FRANKLIN, WI, United States 08-26-13
    Matthew FRANKLIN, WI, United States 08-26-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic Telling of 9/11"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Touching History to be better than the print version?

    I liked the audio version just as much as the text.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like hearing the story told from a different perspective than what has previously been told.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book often made me tear up from imaging the pure terror and confusion of all those involved.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David J. Daoust Wi 03-21-13
    David J. Daoust Wi 03-21-13

    Jaime

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story, Terrible Narrator!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This is a terrific story about aviation activity on the day of Sept. 11th. However, the story is ruined by the female narrator. She constantly adjusts her voice to sound like a man and fails miserably attempting to speak with an accent (Arabic, Boston, etc). Too bad they didn't think this through more and have a male do the voice. Just doesn't sound right. Tough to listen to.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    li brookville, OH, United States 09-12-12
    li brookville, OH, United States 09-12-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Moving"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    One of the best audiobooks i've listened to in ages


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Touching History?

    The sections where you were in air traffice control


    What about Joyce Bean’s performance did you like?

    very good


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Sometimes the stories that hit closest to home, are those above the clouds


    Any additional comments?

    Get this one

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Austin, TX, United States 06-12-12
    Amazon Customer Austin, TX, United States 06-12-12 Member Since 2006

    Just A Guy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
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    40
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    Story
    "Very Insightful - Puts the reader in the cockpit"
    Would you listen to Touching History again? Why?

    Yes, I already have. It's just a gripping story that it's worth revisiting.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The airline pilots.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    As a former USAF navigator I was impressed by the way the National Guard F-16 detachment at Langley AFB threw away the rule book and pressed on with the mission.

    I was also impressed in a negative way about how useless the high levels of the Federal Government were. Apparently all the senior cabinet officials and military officers could do is join conference calls, chat with each other, and run around in circles.

    All the key decisions were made by low level worker bees out in the field.

    The only real guidance from the top came from Vice President Cheney, who authorized the military to shoot down a civilian airliner that was being hijacked.

    Other than that the government's senior officials were useless.


    Any additional comments?

    This book desperately needed to be written. It is the story of how the aviation community reacted to the 9/11 attacks from the point of view of the pilots, dispatchers, controllers, and military officers.

    The author is a professional pilot and it shows in the details. She does a good job of explaining the jargon and tools used within aviation in an easy to understand way for the lay reader.

    I thought the narrator did a fine job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Amherst, MA, United States 10-23-11
    Jonathan Amherst, MA, United States 10-23-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
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    49
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    Performance
    Story
    "Pilots can do no wrong"

    In the opening preface the author tells us s/he is a pilot. Which is no doubt why most of the actual narrative concerns the pilots. There are no stories at any length about any of the passengers in the air or the family members of those in the air.

    The book needed editing. Terms in use such as CAP (combat air patrol) were defined over and over.

    The book could have used tidbits of information about how the flaws in the response that day have been corrected, or not.

    If you want to read this book, buy it used or take it out of the library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose Westlake Village, CA, United States 08-29-10
    Jose Westlake Village, CA, United States 08-29-10 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    1
    Overall
    "Best audible book so far"

    Love this reading of the book Touching History. Have listened to it twice - will probably give it another listen next year. GREAT BOOK.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Winston-Salem, NC, United States 08-19-10
    John Winston-Salem, NC, United States 08-19-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Touching History"

    Provides a much different insight to the events of 911, BUT the narration is a bit weird, some of the voices
    have a nitrous oxide quality

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 10-31-09
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 10-31-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    322
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    215
    117
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    Overall
    "Modern history on steroids"

    This is a modern day history adventure story. Short and sweet, it kept my attention throughout.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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