American Ground

American Ground

Unbuilding the World Trade Center

Book - 2002
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The unsung-and revealing-story of the Herculean effort to finish the dismantling that terrorism began Unlike any other reporter, William Langewiesche has had unrestricted access to Ground Zero and the people involved in the cleanup. He has literally followed in the footsteps of engineers, "deconstruction" workers, firemen, and city officials as they tackle the mind-numbing task of bringing order to an instance of chaos unprecedented on our soil. American Ground is a tour of the interlocking circles of this Dantesque world. With the "knowledge and passion as well as ...careful eloquence" for which his reportage is known (New York Times Book Review), Langewiesche anatomizes the physical details of the collapse and deconstruction, capturing in the process the contest of politics and personality that were its aftershock. At the center of the book is the team of engineers, many of them instrumental in building the towers, who now must collaborate in the sad task of disassembling them. Their responses are as dramatic and unpredictable as the shifting pile of rubble and the surrounding "slurry wall" that constantly threatens to collapse, potentially flooding a large part of underground Manhattan. They are also emotional and territorial, as firemen, police, widows, and officials attempt to claim the tragedy-and the difficult work of extracting the rubble and the thousands of dead buried there-as their own. In all of these aspects-its vociferousness, spontaneity, ingenuity, and fundamental democracy-Langewiesche reveals the story of the deconstruction to be uniquely American, and harshly inspiring. He has constructed an account that will endure against the events of September 11, 2001 as John Hersey's Hiroshima stands in relation to August 1945.
Publisher: New York : North Point Press, 2002.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780865475823
Characteristics: 205 p.


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Aug 17, 2017

A sad task to have to "unbuild" the bottom of the world trade center as well as make it safe for workers. You can add these workers to the list of heroes on and after 9/11

Nov 07, 2015

This book looks behind the "heroes" to portray the human face of the workers who moved all the debris from the World Trade Centers. The news media never showed this side of the work, and the tremendous toil and skill it took to unbuild the massive piles. A real portrayal of how life goes on after such a tragedy.

Jul 11, 2014 what do we learn from this book? That Brown and Root [later to be renamed KBR, or Kellog, Brown and Root after the merger] resided on the 58th floor of one of the WTC Towers. OK. The process of the towers' collapse? Somewhat farfetched! Each floor collapsed and crushed the core? And exactly how does each collapsing floor crush the core, which if it was that weak would never have been able to hold up all the floors? A science fiction explanation which simply doesn't cut the mustard, chum!

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