To be entirely honest, I had never heard of 102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn before it was assigned to my 10th grade english class. When I saw the cover, I immediately understood what the book was about, and I prepared myself for an emotional, heartbreaking, and informative journey.
102 Minutes is a thoroughly researched account of what happened in the Twin Towers on 9/11. The authors examine the decisions made while the towers were constructed, the involvement of firefighters and police, and the confusion and chaos of that devastating day.
The book was a difficult read. Luckily for me, it was broken up as my teacher assigned only 1-2 chapters per night. The authors describe horrific, terrible things I never could have imagined. I was not alive for 9/11, so my inferences about the event were distant and lacking detail.
The authors described the emotional turmoil and the precise timings of events to paint an accurate portrayal of 9/11. The book is incredibly informative, diving into the details of dozens of individuals who survived or perished and how their lives were upheaved in an instant. Every little detail from the building codes of the twin towers to the heroism of dozens of individuals is accounted for within this book. The research writing is impeccable as the authors quote conversations from 9-11 dispatchers and use accurate timestamps to show readers what happened during those tragic 102 minutes.
I am so grateful to have read this book because now I truly understand. I understand the anxiety riddling American society at the sound of a plane flying low overhead. I understand why airplanes only allow 4 oz of liquid on board. I finally see that I was born into a new America. My generation is the 9/11 generation, the ones who have and will continue to grow up in a society where terrorism lingers in the back of minds and even a nail file is feared as a weapon. I never could claim to be able to comprehend the experiences of those who were alive and experienced firsthand the frightening and tragic events of 9/11. However, this book has provided me with valuable insight into the true horrors of 9/11. No longer is my knowledge of the event a vague, sugar coated version provided by prior teachers and relatives. 102 Minutes was a painful read, causing me to shed tears at times due to both the beautiful acts of heroism from rescuers and the untimely deaths of hundreds. The details were hard to comprehend, but they were informative and opened my eyes to the individual perspectives on that day.
Over spring break, I had the chance to visit the 9/11 Memorial in NYC, and it opened my eyes, providing a physical and tangent depiction of the horrors I had read about in 102 Minutes. But it was also beautiful. It illustrated the loss we as a nation have experienced while also demonstrating how a strike against our morale only brings us together to show honor and compassion instead of tearing us apart.
Photograph I took of the 9/11 Memorial.
I know I took a more personal approach to this review, but 9/11 is personal for everyone. We all have our own feelings or memories about it whether we were alive and watching on television or are living with the repercussions. This book had a powerful and unforgettable impact on me, and I recommend it to everyone who can get their hands on a copy. I advise reading it slowly as it will bring up a lot of powerful emotions, but it is certainly a book worth reading as it provides astounding insight into the minds of individuals impacted by the collapse of the World Trade Centers.
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