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What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001--In Words, Pictures, and Video

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To coincide with the first anniversary of the atrocities of September 11 comes a one of a kind record of the events as they unfolded on that fateful day. In words, pictures and video, WHAT WE SAW is a unique historical record of the events of September 11th. This unique and moving book records how we learned about this international tragedy and came to understand and survi To coincide with the first anniversary of the atrocities of September 11 comes a one of a kind record of the events as they unfolded on that fateful day. In words, pictures and video, WHAT WE SAW is a unique historical record of the events of September 11th. This unique and moving book records how we learned about this international tragedy and came to understand and survive it. Through still photography, video footage and the accounts of survivors and journalists, the events of that horrific day are brought vividly to life.


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To coincide with the first anniversary of the atrocities of September 11 comes a one of a kind record of the events as they unfolded on that fateful day. In words, pictures and video, WHAT WE SAW is a unique historical record of the events of September 11th. This unique and moving book records how we learned about this international tragedy and came to understand and survi To coincide with the first anniversary of the atrocities of September 11 comes a one of a kind record of the events as they unfolded on that fateful day. In words, pictures and video, WHAT WE SAW is a unique historical record of the events of September 11th. This unique and moving book records how we learned about this international tragedy and came to understand and survive it. Through still photography, video footage and the accounts of survivors and journalists, the events of that horrific day are brought vividly to life.

30 review for What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001--In Words, Pictures, and Video

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    This is going to be a very personal review but the topic is just as personal so it’s only befitting. As a German, I have a somewhat special relationship to the US and their military. It was the Americans more than anyone who liberated us and ended WWII. Sure, there were a lot of French and Brits and others, but without the US the outcome would very probably have been catastrophically different. Add to that the fact that due to their civilian losses the British and especially French soldiers weren This is going to be a very personal review but the topic is just as personal so it’s only befitting. As a German, I have a somewhat special relationship to the US and their military. It was the Americans more than anyone who liberated us and ended WWII. Sure, there were a lot of French and Brits and others, but without the US the outcome would very probably have been catastrophically different. Add to that the fact that due to their civilian losses the British and especially French soldiers weren’t exactly thrilled to see Germans. My grandmother could tell you stories that would make your toenails curl up - only that they aren’t „stories“ but actual events that have happened to her, her family and neighbours. So everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the Americans (and later Canadians) came and took over, stopped many more atrocities that would have been done to civilians out of revenge, and restored order. When I was little (roughly the first 6 years of my life), I was surrounded by American and Canadian military personnel and my family even befriended some. I watched them play baseball with their kids on the front lawns of the barracks; they helped carry grocery bags to our car when they saw my mother and me at the supermarket (there were German men around, too, by the way, but I guess chivalry has been dead here for a long time); I witnessed their impeccable self-restraint even during a bar fight (long story). In September 2001, I was not in a good place because about a month earlier I had lost my grandfather, an important father-figure in my life. I was in school, having had classes until about 3pm. My mother came and picked me up so we could go and visit my grandmother who was, no surprise there, not doing very well either. When we got to her apartment, she couldn’t speak, which spooked us. She kept pointing at the TV so we settled on the couch. Most of the reports were in English, coming in unfiltered because our news stations were completely overwhelmed. So I translated for them until at least some commentary came. To say that we were shocked would be a complete understatement. It wasn’t just that it was THE United States of America, the unbeatable force, that had been struck. Something like this had never ever happened before anywhere on the planet and for it to happen there of all places … not to mention the panicking people we saw, the screams we heard (like I said, the material was unfiltered when we first saw it on German news) ... Even now, all those years later, I have tears in my eyes when typing this. We even were talking about it in school (and not just in politics lessons). Teachers trying to give us context so it would make a little sense to us. Everyone was scared. Scared shitless. For if it could happen there, it could happen anywhere. For me, it was mostly about those nice, open and helpful people I had encountered and missed in the couple of years since the occupation had been dissolved in my hometown. While they were with us, my mother and I had no reason to be scared of walking home in the dark, now we did (another reason why my grandfather had never liked me taking the bus home but had picked me up as often as he could while he was still alive). Every American I had ever known was polite, cheerful, vivacious, downright vibrating with a positive attitude towards life that was almost contagious. What I saw on 9/11 and after was like those dust clouds - dull, grey, subdued, hurt and angry. I will not get into any conspiracy theory here. I believe it was Osama bin Laden and his henchmen just as much as I still am in favor of the Iraq war although there were no weapons of mass destruction. Sometimes, as much as I - as we all - might dislike it, wars are necessary. Maybe it also served a more sinister secondary purpose (oil, cocaine, whatever), but I believe there was good reason for it too. This review, however, is about 9/11 itself and this tribute to it, so let’s get more into that. I religiously watched news segments, collected newspaper snippets (still have some of them), even recorded some of the TV coverage. It was important to me in order to process the events because what I was and still am feeling is grief, despite the fact that I’m not American, so I’m actually sad that only few of what I originally collected remains now. This book and included DVD are a bit like my former collection. They show some of the news reports (yes, I remember some of them), heroic stories, personal tragedies, nationwide shock. The author, Dan Rather, is a renowned journalist and he’s done a great job on this one. He shows what happened on the day and what impact it had on life in general (the good and the bad), including some accounts of survivors. He never used too much pathos or tried to influence people; it’s simply a collection that gives a 360° view on those fateful events. This is a fine piece of journalism about one of the most important events in current history and it is tastefully presented with the right amount of respect but also critical thinking. Some younger journalists could and definitely should learn from this man. A very important, perfectly executed historical account that also features incredible black-and-white pictures that bring together the wide aspects of the attacks with what individuals felt and experienced. This was especially interesting to me as I never had the chance (yet) to see the museum in NYC. Apparently, copies are hard to come by but as "recent" as this tragedy has happened, it is still a part of history and, like I said, is of high quality so I recommend it to everyone. Additional thoughts after re-reading this on September 11, 2019: It's been 18 years. 2 years since I last read this book. Yes, I've decided to read it again on this anniversary of the tragic event that changed not just lives but how we think about warfare and terrorism in many ways. I've recounted before where I was and what it was like for me, seeing things unfold from thousands of kilometres away on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It's like Dan Rather says in the introduction: It has become almost a matter of convention to talk about September 11, 2001, in terms of where one was when one first heard the news. I think it is part of an understandable quest to discover that precise point in time, that bridging nanosecond, between life before and life after. We are trying to recall the feel of things as we knew them and to discover just what changed - and how - in that instant when we became aware that this day would be different from all the days that had preceeded it. But Dan Rather was right about something else, too: For me, though - and I suspect this is also true for others - the true force of September 11 was revealed not in a single moment but in a series of moments. These moments marched alongside the indelible images of that day, each further advancing an understanding of the attacks' toll. Many still don't understand why this day means so much to me despite me not being American and not having lost anyone in the attacks or their wake. I don't think I'll ever be able to make those people understand so I shan't even try. It's like people asking me why I keep looking at pictures and footage from that day since it was so horrible and all I can say is that I consider it a form of personal duty and that it's my way of dealing with my feelings. To me, mourning and commemorating is important and neither has an expiration date. Moreover, and I think this is most important and the true message of this day, some of the individual stories of the bravery of bus drivers, firefighters, cops and random civilians are inspiring and hope-giving and show what actually makes America great. It may also be that spirit I'm hoping to revive.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    If I were reading this without having the memories of that horrible day, it would probably only receive a 4-star rating. I have read more moving accounts. However, as an overall compilation with views from many different perspectives, it accomplishes what it set out to do. I remember that day with such vivid clarity. I am still moved to tears when I remember or read accounts of September 11, 2001. Why do I do it? Only in remembering, will we remain vigilant. Only in learning from the past, do we If I were reading this without having the memories of that horrible day, it would probably only receive a 4-star rating. I have read more moving accounts. However, as an overall compilation with views from many different perspectives, it accomplishes what it set out to do. I remember that day with such vivid clarity. I am still moved to tears when I remember or read accounts of September 11, 2001. Why do I do it? Only in remembering, will we remain vigilant. Only in learning from the past, do we prepare ourselves for the future. Only in feeling the pain of such a loss, can we determine to do all in our power to never let it happen again. Can we prevent evil? No. But we can remember all those whose lives were lost so that their death is not in vain. We can honor them and learn from them. Though evil won the battle of that day, we will win the war. Contrary to what we see in the news every day, there is a lot of good left in this world. Though our country has its problems, we have learned that we can come together—putting all politics aside—and be as one. Ten years later, I learned things I had never known. I saw accounts that I had never before seen. As I read about the F-16 pilots that were scrambled, without being armed, to ram United Flight 93, my heart nearly burst. How could I not pause to give gratitude that I live in such a blessed country? When you think of the courage surrounding all of the events of the day, and especially those surrounding United Flight 93, you get a glimpse of the quality of our citizens and military. Time makes us soft. The further we are removed from a situation the fainter become the lessons of the day. To pause and remember is worthy of our time. It is the only way we are prepared to meet the challenges of the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    There have been an endless series of stories recounting the horrific events of 11-Sep-2001, many published around the 1-year anniversary of the tragedy. Though obviously a terrifying real story and one that we keep coming back to in the national collective consciousness, some of these tend to be nothing more than regurgitations of stories and news that we've all heard many times over by now. I had expected something a little more depth or professional from CBS, but this book is really nothing mor There have been an endless series of stories recounting the horrific events of 11-Sep-2001, many published around the 1-year anniversary of the tragedy. Though obviously a terrifying real story and one that we keep coming back to in the national collective consciousness, some of these tend to be nothing more than regurgitations of stories and news that we've all heard many times over by now. I had expected something a little more depth or professional from CBS, but this book is really nothing more than a transcript, in book form, of the various live interviews and reports that they aired on 9/11 and in the days following. It even goes so far as to include a DVD containing all of the same reports.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Disappointing! The only difference between this book and the edition published in 2002 is a six-page forward entitled "What We Know Now" by Joe Klein. While this is of an interesting perspective, it would have been nice if the stories in the book had been updated ... an additional paragraph or two at the end of each story that started "Today ..." or "Now, almost ten years later..." It seems almost a waste to republish this book (and that's what they have done), with no real updates to this HUGE im Disappointing! The only difference between this book and the edition published in 2002 is a six-page forward entitled "What We Know Now" by Joe Klein. While this is of an interesting perspective, it would have been nice if the stories in the book had been updated ... an additional paragraph or two at the end of each story that started "Today ..." or "Now, almost ten years later..." It seems almost a waste to republish this book (and that's what they have done), with no real updates to this HUGE impact on American History.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    The book is most effective when it just lets the writers/correspondents tell their stories - the new essays by Dan Rather & Joe Klein are pointless, however. One thing that always irritates me w/9-11 writing - the whole "where was George Bush?" obsession. 4 planes were hijacked & 3 of them were flown into large buildings (one of those being the Pentagon)... OF COURSE he was hidden away by the Secret Service for safety. I'd consider them negligent if they didn't do that. (Whatever your political v The book is most effective when it just lets the writers/correspondents tell their stories - the new essays by Dan Rather & Joe Klein are pointless, however. One thing that always irritates me w/9-11 writing - the whole "where was George Bush?" obsession. 4 planes were hijacked & 3 of them were flown into large buildings (one of those being the Pentagon)... OF COURSE he was hidden away by the Secret Service for safety. I'd consider them negligent if they didn't do that. (Whatever your political views, it was the right call.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sonia Schoenfield

    This caught my eye in the library, it was on the new book shelf. The text repeated some of the clips on the DVD. Pictures were mostly black and white. This was the perspective of CBS so it only gives part of the picture, but a worthwhile part nonetheless. The 60 Minutes pieces at the end of the DVD were great.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    The pictures really do an awesome job of telling the awful story of what happened that day. My students weren't even born on this terrible day, and I believe they need books that capture the pain and memories in an appropriate way. The DVD was awesome; I showed part of it (the first 45 min) to my 5th grade class.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Everyone should read this book. Just to keep fresh in everybodys mind. It also have DVD along with it. Very well done! and saw some new things on the DVD that I didn't see when it was all happening. I can tell you I will NEVER forget where I was when the Towers fell!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    really good! learned a lot about 9/11 from it. it gave a different perspective about the enormity of who exactly how many people the event effected.also talks about the change that 9/11 has on everday life. anyway, i very much enjoyed this!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bela

    Quick overview reads. Voyeuristic CD-ROM accompanies. I just saw the movie United 93 which is why I'm interested in reading about 9-11...again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    A useful narrative with some very human insights into the earliest world event I can remember and one of my earliest memories.

  12. 4 out of 5

    chucklesthescot

    Detailing all the events happening on 9/11 with a hardback book and special dvd. It is the coverage provided on the day by the CBS news team.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yvi

    Immer wieder schockierend darüber zu lesen und die Bilder zu sehen...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Painful, but beautiful in its own way. Hard to believe that this was ten years ago.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I bought the book about a year after 9/11/2001. I read it and watched the DVD. Nine years later, I saw it my DVD shelf and thought I would read it again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Williams

    outstanding photos and very insightful commentary by first account witnesses to this national tragedy. I've read a few books on 9/11 but this one stands out by far. I highly recommend it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    First person accounts of September 11, 2001. Since the anniversary of 9/11 is less than a month away I thought this would be a good time to read this.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Nichol

    Watch the DVD first. It contains compelling footage from that fateful day, skilfully narrated by former CBS newsman Dan Rather. The companion book offers plenty of poignant anecdotes as well.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Very good! It helped me explain things to my kids. Their ages 13&9. My 7 yr old a little to young yet. But it helped to have the video that came with. Very good! It helped me explain things to my kids. Their ages 13&9. My 7 yr old a little to young yet. But it helped to have the video that came with.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Buchholz

    No new info published in this book, but more a chronicle of the events we witnessed

  21. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    A heartbreaking read of real stories and broadcasts from September 11th. I learned some things I hadn't known before, some interesting, some I could have done without knowing. Being so young, I don't remember much of the news broadcasts or what was being reported. I appreciated being able to read some of those now.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Sawyer

    Every year, on September 11, this book is taken off the shelf and read cover to cover and the DVD included is watched. Never Forget

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate Sochacki

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wendy C

  26. 4 out of 5

    Megan Bruns

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matt Nething

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aashish Trivedi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Barnett

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