Cover of The Only Plane in the Sky.

The Only Plane in the Sky

author: Garrett M. Graff (2019)
narrators: Holter Graham and a full cast
date read: 25 June 2021
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is a collection of oral histories from 9/11: the book is almost entirely made of quotes from different people’s accounts – and the quotes are carefully combined to form a coherent narrative.

I only have vague memories of 9/11, and I didn’t really get why it was such a big deal. I remember Mum getting a phone call from somebody and sounding shocked, and watching it on the TV, but I was too young to understand.

The accounts in this book helped me understand why 9/11 is such a big deal, and the scale of devastation and shock. Hearing dozens of people explain how it affected them really left an impression – and how it affected them on the day, not just the aftermath.

A few things I was struck by:

The narrated version is excellent, and at time drops into the real audio – including the ATC messages and President Bush’s address. It’s a good way to hear more about a heavy topic.

I first heard of this book in a comment on Hacker News.

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