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The Only Plane in the Sky

The Oral History of 9/11
Length: 15 hrs and 54 mins
Categories: History, 21st Century
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

The definitive first-person account of the day that changed the world.

Of all the books about 9/11 one has been missing until now - a panoramic narrative from the men and women caught up in the unprecedented human drama of that terrible day.

The Only Plane in the Sky is nothing less than the first comprehensive oral history of 9/11, deftly woven and told in the voices of ordinary people grappling with extraordinary events. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents and new and archived interviews from nearly 500 people, historian Garrett Graff skilfully tells the story of the day as it was lived. 

It begins in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, where we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights. In New York, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable chaos at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker beneath the White House, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice watch for incoming planes on radar. In the offices of the Pentagon, top officials feel the violent tremor as their headquarters come under attack. 

We hear the stories of the father and son working on separate floors in the North Tower; the firefighter who rushes to the scene to search for his wife; the telephone operator who keeps her promise to share a passenger's last words with his family; the chaplain who stays on the scene to perform last rites, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; the teachers evacuating terrified children from schools mere blocks from the World Trade Center; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from rushing into the burning building to try to rescue their colleagues.

The Only Plane in the Sky is a unique, profound and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history and all of our lives.

©2019 Garrett M. Graff (P)2019 Octopus Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Although many years have passed since 9/11, this book, told with such immediacy, brings so vividly back to mind the shock of that day, and why it continues to shape the tragic history that has followed." (Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower)

"The Only Plane in the Sky is a stunning and important work - chilling, heartbreaking - and I cannot stop thinking about it. To hear the voices of those who survived, and those who did not, it is so moving and powerful. I learned so much and am so thankful for this book." (Anderson Cooper, anchor, CNN)

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  • Vivienne
  • Nuneaton, United Kingdom
  • 15-09-19

A Powerful and Important Work of Nonfiction

This is the best use of the audiobook format that I have ever encountered.

Its full cast is well utilised to provide a chorus of voices recounting their experiences of 9/11.

On occasion actual raw audio is utilised from the day.

It is not only a powerful account but a very emotional one.

This is a must listen

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A Must Listen For Everyone

Detailed accounts allowing listener to really empathise and relate to the horror of 9/11. It really does encapsulate the entirety of emotions from those involved and for those not personally affected, this book really makes your heart go out to those who are and highlights that remembrance is the least we can do.