Sept 2002 Editor's Choice

Before The Title Past

By Jeff Shelby
"An Unhappy Anniversary"

†††† Last September, my wife and I went to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.Our condo was right on the beach and each morning we strolled down the sand, enjoying the ocean and the quiet early part of the day.

†††† On September 11th, while Stephanie was getting ready to go for our walk, I flipped on the television to check SportsCenter, as is my normal morning routine.I never made it past CNN.

†††† We were unable to get on our return flight later in the week and ended up renting a car to make the drive home to Colorado.As we made the three-day drive, sharing the highways and hotels with thousands of people in the same predicament, there was only one topic of conversation.On televisions, on the radio, in gas stations and hotel lobbies, the events of several days prior were on everyoneís minds.It became clear that we were living through a time in history that would not only change the way we live, but would be discussed and analyzed for decades to come.

†††† A year later, we are beginning to see the first meaningful published looks at September 11th.There were, of course, several rush-to-the-printer publications that gave superficial, shallow accounts of the day and seemed thrown together simply to capitalize financially on the tragedy.But, now, one year removed from the worst day on American soil, the shelves are starting to house thoughtful, in depth looks at what occurred in New York City.

†††† Below, Iíve listed several of the new books.I canít tell you which are good or which are meaningful because what happened that day affected everyone I know differently.Some will mean more to others, some will seem less important.As time goes by, and more books are written about last September, I would imagine that almost everyone who has an interest in books will find something that resonates with them in a significant way.

†††† Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back By Jere Longman

†††† Longman has put together an account of what probably occurred on the only flight to miss itís intended target.Pieced together through research and interviews of both family members and investigators, Longman fleshes out the voices and actions that provided some sense of solace for the country.


†††† Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center By Dennis Smith

†††† Smith, a retired NYC firefighter, rushed to the scene to volunteer his efforts.This book is a diary of his time spent at Ground Zero and includes interviews with fellow workers as they attempt to find life beneath the destruction.


†††† Firehouse By David Halberstam

†††††Engine 40, Ladder 35 sent 13 men into the Towers.Only one made it back to the firehouse.Halberstam examines the history and tradition of this firehouse and the profound effect September 11th took on this proud and strong community of firefighters.


††††With Their Eyes: September 11Th-The View from a High School at Ground Zero By Annie Thoms (Compiler), Taresh Batra (Editor), Anna Deavere Smith

†††† An account of September 11th, told by students at the nearest high school to the World Trade Centers, Stuyvesant High School.What should have been just a normal day in a new semester turned into a real life history lesson and the students tell us what they saw and how they felt.

Jeff Shelby earned a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine. His first mystery, Dead Week, was released in December 2001. He and his wife live in Castle Rock, CO. His website is .


2002 Past Columns - Nancy Marie / Jeff Shelby

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