Sunday, December 22, 2013

Afterwords: Stories and Reports from 9/11 and Beyond compiled by the Editors of

The last book I read was from a store named After-words, but I bought Afterwords at Borders for $3.99 in 2003 or 2004. It was an odd book for me to buy since my reaction to 9/11 was different from most people I know. I never wondered "why do they hate us"; rather I marveled at the naivety of my fellow Americans. Far from thinking something like that could never happen here, I had figured it was inevitable.

Anyway, I started reading Afterwords shortly after I bought it. It went quickly despite the dreary and emotional subject matter, and I got through 173 pages before the book disappeared into the hopeless morass of my office. It turned up occasionally over the years, and I would think I should finish it just to get it out of the way. Well, "unfinished business" month is the perfect time to finally do so.

To my surprise, the last 155 pages contain a lot of interesting stuff. Sure, there are still a few overwrought, emotionally-charged articles, but not as many as in the first half of the book. And I had to laugh at a couple of stories portraying the war in Afghanistan as a success—those writers would be surprised to see nearly 50,000 troops still over there more than a decade later. But there are also some thoughtful articles that look beyond the immediate horror of the day and consider the aftermath and the future.

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