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Publisher's Summary

At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, 14,000 people were inside the twin towers; reading e-mails, making trades, eating croissants at Windows on the World. Over the next 102 minutes, each would become part of a drama for the ages, one witnessed only by the people who lived it, until now.

New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn rely on hundreds of interviews; thousands of pages of oral histories; and phone, e-mail, and emergency radio transcripts. They cross a bridge of voices to go inside the infernos, seeing cataclysm and heroism, one person at a time, to tell the affecting, authoritative saga of the men and women, the 12,000 who escaped and the 2,749 who perished, who made 102 minutes count as never before.

©2005 Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • National Book Award Finalist, Nonfiction, 2005
  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Nonfiction (Abridged)

"A masterpiece of reporting." (The New York Times) "The stories are intensely intimate, and they often stir gut-wrenching emotions....[Dwyer and Flynn's] reporting skills are exceptional." (Publishers Weekly) "A fitting tribute to the people caught up in one of the great dramas of our time. And for people still haunted by the events of that day, reading 102 Minutes provides a cathartic release." (The New York Times Book Review) "New York Times reporters Dwyer and Flynn have compiled an unbearably painful but indispensable account of what transpired inside the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001." (Booklist)

What members say

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 03-06-15

Stellar Reporting; Ages Well With Time

I don't know. D'you ever do it? Find yourself looking back at something that caused you great pain/agony? I was on a 9/11 kick: watched a lot of old vids, read a lot of old articles, and listened to a lot of audiobooks. Read "102 Minutes" ages ago and listened to the audiobook, and it holds up well, made me wince quite a bit, re-live some of the nightmare of that day, ya know? What we learned.
Because "102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers" is nothing if not a story of what went wrong, what went right, what happened. Period.
And it is oh-so cringe-worthy.
Radios that wouldn't work. Radios on different frequencies, varying from agency to agency. Too few stairwells, some caved in by rubble. Oh, but some stairwells decently lit (Yay! We learned THAT from the FIRST time the towers were bombed)! Firefighters damned near having heart attacks from the heat and the weight of their gear. Trying to be heard over the wail of sirens/the crashing of bodies falling on the canopies or the ground. A man in a wheelchair patiently waiting, waiting, waiting with a friend? Sure, SOMEone will be by to rescue him. Right?
But there WERE many rescues. There WERE many good decisions. There WERE many dodged bullets.
It's just that...
Well, it makes for a sometimes painful, but ALWAYS an amazing, worthwhile listen.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

102 Minutes--A Review

For me to spend money on a book, any book, that is abridged, it has to be good. Such is the case with 102 Minutes. This is a very gripping and powerful story of the men and women involved in the World Trade Center atacks of September 11 2001. For me, and many others, the events of 9-11 while horrible and frightening, were remote. Just something on TV that impacted my life about as much as, say, something going on half way around the world. I watched in horror as the towers were first struck and then as the crumbeled and all I could think is oh my God. This is bad. But it really had no impact on my day-to-day life. That is, until I read this book. The authors draw you in in, painting, in painful detail, the every day events of that started out normal, but quickly turned into anything but. Finally, for the first time, the men and women are made "real" given names, faces, glimpses into their lives, loves, hopes, and then... You are right there with them as they fight for their lives, in the crowded, smoke filled stairwells. You will be left brethless and shaken. And moved to anger when you learn more people could of been saved if the planners had just added simple things like fire towers and more staircases, which were removed so more rentable office space could be had. This is a moving book, one of the best Ive read in a while. I collect snippits of information about 9-11. Last September I bought the 9-11 report from Audible and I also have the audio of the Howard Stern radio show as he reports moment to moment live the events as they happened. 102 Minutes is a perfect and timeless addition to my audio collection. The only draw back? This is abridged! Hopefully some day soon the unabridged edition of this book will come on-line.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A story about people and steel.

A compelling listen. This is a story about September 11 and the World Trade Center but not about the terrorists and the federal government. This is more a story about an unfathomable failure of supposedly indestructible building. The buildings themselves become the main character as the authors discuss the construction techniques, safety characteristics and the failures of the building to stand up under the stress of unprecedented injury. They also examine the apparently long standing difficulties between the police and fire departments which prevented good communication between the thousands of people involved and contributed to the chaos on the day. I have listened extensively on this topic but still found this book riveting. I highly recommend it.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

WTC told in Walter Lord's style

Author's approach to the topic was outstanding. The program reminded me a lot of Walter Lord's "Night To Remember" about the sinking of the Titanic. Author puts you there in the minds of those who lived and died in the WTC on 9/11. Depressing yet at times inspiring. Definitely recommended.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cheryl
  • Vista, US, Canada
  • 03-26-07

Not what I expected

After listening to this audio book, I had to go back and read the summary of the book again because I thought I had mis-read what this book was about. Turns out, I had not...very disappointed in the content, I anticipated "tales" from inside the towers and what I found was a lot of political statements of what was wrong with the whole situation. From the actual architecture to the disconnect between emergency organizations. Although I usually try not to give to much away in my reviews, this time I feel that it is warranted...the ending was really the only part that focused on those "tales" but it was brief.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ella
  • toronto,, Ontario, Canada
  • 03-05-06


There was more than a few times that I almost called it quits on this one, but I listened to the whole book. When I read the intro and reviews I thought this would be a very interesting listen, but a minute by minute reliving of 9/11 was not something I was ready for. I didn't think it through. 9/11 was one of the most difficult times in history that many of us will ever live through. At the time, it touched me very deeply and I thought I was ready to hear more about why, how and some personal stories, but I found it very hard to listen to.
The book is informative and very heavy. Just be ready and aware of what you are getting into.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Harrowing and Edifying

102 Minutes is breathtakingly painful to hear, but gives monumental insight into the tragedy of 9/11. As harrowing as it is to learn the stories of the individuals involved, even moreso is the painful realization that many of the losses did not have to happen but for the failure of communication involving the rescue entities. That ignorance and the outdated and shoddy planning that built the trade center are the heartbreaking facts that these reporters deal with. Using prose you will never forget it, the authors tell the most important story of modern history.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kenji
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 06-27-07


Utterly and completely riveting. Far more insightful and heart-wrenching than any other material available about 9/11...

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

9/11 from the survivors view

Excellent rendition and collaboration of events which piece together the 102 minutes which defined American history. The stories are many and the author did a great job of molding them together to bring the story to life while intertwining them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


What did you love best about 102 Minutes?

It put me right there. I was captivated from the beginning

What was one of the most memorable moments of 102 Minutes?

When I realized I was on my seat waiting to hear what happened to each person.

What does Ron McLarty bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He brings a voice, and a sound

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, wanted too, but couldn't

Any additional comments?

I lent it to a friend and she had the same reactions. We were both very moved by it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful