In November 2000 I left the employ of Aon, an insurance company whose HQ was on the top floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Centre. I worked in London but knew many people in the New York office. 10 months later I watched on the tv as the world fell apart. Fortunately most of the people I knew well survived - but not all of them, and many people I knew less well died. Aon lost nearly 200 staff. Meeting up later with friends and colleagues I heard stories of how they had survived and snippets of what had happened to those who didn't, including the fact that some of them returned to their desks as they were told it was safe to do so and were then trapped when the second plane hit.
This book helped me put all the pieces together to really understand - as much as it is possible for those of us who weren't there - what it must have been like for my friends and colleagues and all those others there. The bravery, the confusion, the incompetence, the shortcuts in implementing the building code, the utter horror, all are examined in detail. The stories of people who seemed certainly dead yet survived, the stories of those who went through so much in their struggle to escape - and then died anyway, often only a short distance from safety. One story in particular stands out for me and it isn't the story of anyone I knew, but the tale of Ed a paraplegic and his friend Abe who. when he could have escaped to safety, waited ("I'm staying with my friend") patiently on the 27th floor of the North Tower until they could be rescued and Ed could be got out in his electric wheelchair. They died.
A great book and required reading for anyone who wants to have any understanding of that terrible day.