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  • September 2012
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National Day of Service and Remembrance

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist attacks against the United States.  2,977 people were killed that day in New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA.  There have been some great books written about that day and the events that led to it.  Among the best of these are:

 The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright- A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking
look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on             America.  The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the  interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI’s counterterrorism chief, John O’Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal.
The Looming Tower draws all elements of the story into a galvanizing narrative that adds immeasurably to our understanding of how we arrived at September 11, 2001.

 

   102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn- Drawing on hundreds of interviews with rescuers and survivors, thousands of pages of oral histories, and countless phone, e-mail, and emergency radio transcripts, New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn tell the story of September 11 from the inside looking out, weaving together the stories of ordinary men and women into an epic account of struggle, determination, and grace.  Dwyer and Flynn reveal the decisions, both good and bad, that proved to be the difference between life and death on a day that changed America forever.

 

   Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll- From the managing editor of the Washington Post , a news-breaking account of the CIA’s involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden’s al Qaeda.  Comprehensively and for the first time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll tells the secret history of the CIA’s role in Afghanistan, from its covert program against Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989, to the rise of the Taliban and the emergence of bin Laden, to the secret efforts by CIA officers and their agents to capture or kill bin Laden in Afghanistan after 1998.   Ghost Wars answers the questions so many have asked since the horrors of September 11: To what extent did America’s best intelligence analysts grasp the rising threat of Islamist radicalism? Who tried to stop bin Laden and why did they fail?

Today has also been declared a National Day of Service and Remembrance.  You can find some great opportunities for volunteer service here.  You can also volunteer your time at your local CLP branch library.  If you are up for a drive, you can visit the Flight 93 National Memorial, which is about an hour away from Pittsburgh.

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