Picks and Pans Review: 102 Minutes

UPDATED 01/31/2005 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/31/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn

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Subtitled "The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers," this exhaustively researched and smoothly written work by two New York Times reporters has the kind of wrenching, suspenseful quality that you'd expect from a TV drama. The account spans the 102 minutes between the firebomb that was American Airlines Flight 11 tearing into the North Tower and the second tower's collapse. Focusing on the increasingly desperate scenes inside the skyscrapers, the authors propel the action at a heart-pounding pace that pulls you into the nightmare as it unfolds. Drawn from emergency-radio and phone transcripts, e-mails and hundreds of interviews, the narrative includes the stories of those who escaped with moments to spare, as well as of heroes who stood their ground and died. Dwyer and Flynn's most impressive achievement: writing in a way that confers dignity on each subject. This is one book that will stay with most readers for a very long time.


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