The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of September 11, 2001 by Garrett M. Graff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an amazing book. Despite the title, it shows a broad range of points of view of the events of 9/11–not just Air Force One, but workers in the twin towers and in the Pentagon, along with first responders, families of those who survived and those who didn’t, and airline employees and families of the plane passenger sand crew who got a glimpse of what what going on inside the planes as they flew to their various dooms.
The reason I am giving this a 4 instead of a 5 is the manner in which the story was told. These are all (with a few exceptions) actual first-person accounts read by actors (which is fine), but instead of getting anyone’s story from beginning to end as I expected, it’s all told in short 2-3 sentence vignettes from the vast variety of people the author interviewed. It ends up telling a complete narrative of each time and place, but in these tiny pieces, like a mosaic. The second you get interested in one person’s story, they switch to someone else’s experience to pick up the story, and the narrative may or may not return to that person whose story you were interested in specifically.