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on 10 September 2002
Ghostwritten I'm sure, but allowing the down-to-earth FDNY man to speak in his own voice, this is a direct, raw, emotional work which takes the reader right into the heart of the WTC disaster. Richard Picciotto was one of the last men to emerge alive from the rubble of WTC 1, as he and his crew, and a civilian they rescued, were trapped within the only staircase not to collapse completely. This is the story of how they came to be in there - and how they got out again.
As another reviewer said, 'Literature this ain't'; the fireman's voice is blunt and rough and spares no-one in his assessment of how lack of funding to the fire department contributed to the loss of life; he obviously has his own personal beef here which frequently comes across. But he tells the truth as he saw and sees it; and the sense of what it was like to be there and to do that job is far more vivid than could be obtained from a more considered and more 'literary' work.
Highly recommended.
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on 30 May 2002
This book is a wonderful tribute to all those who lost their lives in the twin towers on that horrific day in September. I could not put it down - wanting to know what happened next and wishing that I could shorten the suffering these people went through before their final escape. Richard Picciotto's account of what it was like to be inside the North Tower on that morning is frighteningly real - written in a down-to-earth style that enables you to relate so easily and only begin to imagine his pain. This book further exposes not only the pain and horror of those events, but also the true bravery and an ultimate strength to remain optimistic at the hardest of times.
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on 16 April 2002
This book is a tribute to all the men and women who risk their lives every day to save others. A truly emotional book which questions "If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? then if you survive a disaster but nobody hears your cries, do you really survive?" In 10-20 years time I believe that this book will become a film for all to see but the truth and pain will be distorted. There was no bonding huddle with survivors under the rubble, no talk of family and friends on the outside, simply silence.... A must read for all who doubt that there are some good people in the world. God bless the emergency services and every person who loved and lost a life on September 11th.
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on 24 March 2002
This book tells you what 'really' happened on the fateful day of September 11th. Being an outsider as you could put it, you don't really have a clue what happened inside the World Trade Centres on that day, this fireman's story tells you of the bravery and courage that these people did to try their best to save others. Its put over so realistically that you can almost fully imagine what the poor souls were going through on this tragic day.
This is a book which once you start you can't put it down until its finished.
Definately a must!
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on 4 October 2013
I would have thought an account of being trapped inside one of the collapsed towers of the World Trade Centre would have practically written itself, but somehow Richard Picciotto and Daniel Paisner managed to annoy me far more than they enthralled. Whether this is Picciotto's fault or that of co-writer Paisner I'm unsure, but the latter should have at least brought writing ability to this project. But when certain words and phrases are re-used over and over and over again, and the writing veers from competent to poor, I'm wondering exactly what Paisner's contribution was. Why, for example, do we have have the word "bullhorn" cropping up so very often when synonyms like megaphone and loud hailer are obvious substitutes? Then there is the expression "in a beat", or "in a couple of beats": why, exactly, do we get this expression on almost every page of Last Man Down when it could have been mixed up with "in a moment", "in a second", "in a minute", etc? These are just the most blatant acts of lazy repetition.

But then we come to the subject of Picciotto's personality. Is he really this full of his own importance? Does he really look down his nose at anyone who isn't a fireman, or does it come over that way because of Paisner's lousy writing? The text may have Picciotto frequently referring to "these good people" (ad infinitum) but I got the distinct impression he doesn't like non-fireworkers very much and sees them as people who blunder around like sheep and get in his way. If Picciotto really is so obnoxious, perhaps Paisner could have reigned him in a bit. If Picciotto is actually a great guy, rather than the loose cannon we see on these pages, he ought to have brought in someone to replace Paisner for the next draught.

What ought to have been a mesmerising account of an infamous tragedy is instead a rather dreary read, punctuated with occasion insights (very occasional), poor writing, and an overriding feeling from the main author of his own self importance.
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on 5 February 2004
Absolutely excellent book which relives the horrific memories of September 11th. As we all know this was a tragic event and many of us watched the events unfold on the TV, you can actually feel what it was like to be in the twin towers. Brilliant book, excellently written and a treasure to keep as a piece of history.
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on 26 March 2003
I just had to tell you all about this book, I bought it a few days ago and finished within a day, It was the best story i've read about september 11th. It puts you right inside the towers with Richard Picciotto. His step by step detail of how the day unfolded is gripping! I really couldnt put it down! He is such a Hero! Not for one minute did he stop being a fireman and be a citizen afraid! It's a must read if you want to get a closer feel of what went through those peoples minds that fateful day!
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on 19 August 2006
I have had this book for a few years but have not been able to read it till recently.The story is quite interesting and astonishing (especially as it is a true story) but the writing is somewhat repetetive - I think this is done to make the story longer - and the Firefighter seems to be too full of himself always going on how great he is and how well he did what a good leader he is ...... and so on.Entertaining and interesting but the way the story is written spoils it.
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on 8 May 2002
Literature this is not .Thankfully.The ghost writer remains well hidden under the New York chat .This is a book I bought not only for my own interest but to hand on to my son who was almost 8 when the two towers went down . Exactly ten days before his own grandfather died too .It explores professionalism , grief ,control and human nature in the face of true horror.
Ultimately , though it IS optimistic.
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on 12 March 2003
If you are interested to know in depth how the firemen work in the US, then you will find this book very informative as it contains a lot of information about how they work and the ranking. It is a book to tell what happened to those firemen trapped under the rubbles of the World Trade Centre after it collapsed rather than telling us what they did to help get the people out of the building before it collapsed. I think the lack of body of this book is due to the fact that chief Pitch was trapped so could not have known what was going on with the outside world hence there was not much he could tell except himself. Especially with no conversation with the other trapped firemen, he could only speak for himself. As a result the book is more like a book to boost his reputation as he consistently commenting how good and how cool he was. The title of the book was good, only that the story was not up to the scratch.
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