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.
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"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I found this report/book very interesting and captivating throughout. Perhaps it was because the 9/11 attacks on United States, are still so recent and fresh in our minds of those who lived through it all. It was a terrifying time and I find that this report helps to answer a lot of questions with factual agreed upon bi-partisan ism that we don't see coming down from Capitol Hill too often.
This a a very long, 3 part book, but I found it to be an interesting read and keeps moving along just fast enough to keep my attention.
Is it the last word on the subject? I doubt it...there will always be conspiracy theories, books and movies that abound, and I'm sure that after "all is said and done", we may even find out more, but for now, this has got to be one of the most comprehensive reports/books yet.
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