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In the Shadow of No Towers

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  3,050 Ratings  ·  243 Reviews
Catastrophic, world-altering events like the September 11 attacks on the United States place the millions of us who experience them on the "fault line where World History and Personal History collide." Most of us, however, cannot document that intersection with the force, compression, and poignancy expressed in Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers. As in his Pulitze ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published 2004 by Viking
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Community Reviews

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Pramod Nair
Jun 19, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it really liked it
Art Spiegelman & his family witnessed the attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers at close range from their lower Manhattan neighborhood and his panic, rage, fear, mourning and his overall emotional state just after the 9/11 attacks can be perceived from the following extract taken from the introduction of the book:

I tend to be easily unhinged. Minor mishaps–a clogged drain, running late for an appointment–send me into a sky-is-falling tizzy. It’s a trait that can leave one ill-equippe
Rebecca McNutt
As beautiful as it is shocking, In the Shadow of No Towers is a short yet artistic metaphorical graphic novel of New York's citizens coping in the aftermath of the World Trade Center Attacks, and how humans grieve and survive in dire times throughout history in general.
Apr 21, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I have read several reviews on here that mock Art Spiegelman as "The King" or call his book pretentious or get angry over the fact that it's short or too large in size. But let's get one thing straight here: Art Spiegelman is, without a doubt, just as important as he thinks he is. And this book is further evidence of that.

Other complaints have centered on his strong political beliefs: but, let's face it, he is right. That tragedy WAS highjacked by the right, and the American public was hoodwinke
Feb 16, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it
Let's terrorize the terrorists!

Yes, I did that. I started off a review about 9/11 with a Family Guy quote. You all saw it. Take my goodreaders badge away.

Too late? When did the satire on 9/11 begin? Is it still acceptable? Let's ask the hipsters.


Yes, I laughed at the Family Guy episode. GW refounding the confederacy and starting a 2nd Civil War that resulted in 17 million dead including Cesar Millan.. it puts a nice spin on the 'what happened if 9/11 was thwarted'idea.

I guess I'm jus
Jen Hirt
May 17, 2011 Jen Hirt rated it it was amazing
Halfway through this book, Spiegelman, who lives in Manhattan and had to run through the streets on September 11 to get his daughter out of school, writes that the only way he could get the image of burning skyscrapers out of his head was to browse old comic strips: "That they were made with so much skill and verve but never intended to last past the day they appeared in the newspaper gave them poignancy; they were just right for an end of the world moment." And with that, he created 10 graphic ...more
Jul 25, 2007 Margie rated it liked it
Like other reviewers I wanted to like this, but ended up feeling as though it was a bit unfinished. Excellent bits, but I'm not sure they work as a coherent whole. Then again, I don't believe an artistic response to 9/11 is required to be coherent.
Only His High Holiness Art Shpeegleman could get away with something like this: he goes for years without publishing a whit of comics, drums up all sorts of hype and excitement, and then leaves us with what? Why, a board book! A fancily-printed pamphlet of newspaper pages, 38 cardstock pages total (including the frontispiece, introduction and everything), only 20 pages of which contain his actual original creations. Of course, those 20 pages are all newspaper-style double-page fold-out spreads, ...more
Feb 29, 2008 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
Art Spiegelman uses his considerable talent to illustrate the fear and confusion of September 11, 2001 -- and of the months following, when he (like many other Americans) felt the Bush administration had hijacked the tragedy. The second half showcases the weird and political world of early full-page newspaper comics, his model for his own works in this book. An excellent, important book that moved me to tears.
art spiegelman deserves his place in the graphic novel canon and can get away with all kinds of pretentiousness (like only giving presentations when he can smoke the entire way through and making a book so big it wouldn't fit in my backpack) bc he's just that good, ok.
Dec 18, 2013 Jenny rated it it was amazing
What happens when not just your world, but also THE WORLD, fall apart on the same day?
In his introduction to In the Shadow of No Towers, Spiegalman explains the disorientation he felt during the minutes, hours, days, months, and years immediately following the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. The media images bombarding him and everyone else conflicted with his own experience of seeing the North Tower disintegrate. The clash between reality and memory is something that we can
i don't think i could have read this when it first came out, even if it was three years after 9/11. there is something about Art Spiegelman's work that is profoundly affecting, in ways that i can relate to.

he lives in lower manhattan, and witnessed the attacks first hand. his black-on-black work ran as the cover of the new yorker days after the attacks. he talks about his struggle to understand the crisis, to understand and have faith in his country - especially when the decision to go to war
Jun 19, 2007 Pamela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
This is Art Spiegelman, so I guess I should not be as surprised as I am that IN THE SHADOW OF NO TOWERS is replete with paranoid ravings—even by the justified standards of lived-to-tell-the-tale New Yorkers. In part, I suspect these ravings are intentional, a way of exhibiting the unraveling trust we place in our surroundings and our government’s ability (or desire) to protect us from harm. But still, I was a little put off.

On another note, comic fans will get a huge kick out of Spiegelman’s inc
Mar 17, 2011 Kerfe rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how to rate this really. The title as a metaphor for NYC after 9/11 is 5 stars for sure.

A series of broadside meditations--political, mental, and social commentary--on Spiegelman's experience in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and how its afterimage engulfed his spirit--is followed by a history of the beginnings of newspaper comics in the United States (with illustrated examples). The dislocation I felt between the two sections mirrored the author's state as he related it in his broadsides
Jul 19, 2016 Jordan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Incomprehensibly neurotic and strange. Which I can understand, given the subject matter. But also, what did I just read?

The art is beautiful, of course. Just as one would expect from Spiegelman. Here, he pushes the boundaries of graphic novels to create an oversized board book, with intricate frames of Spiegelman's spiral into darkness.

Again, I can see where the neurosis is coming from. I can understand the fragmentation, to a degree. There is a thread of a narrative, as Spiegelman and Francoi
Aug 28, 2011 Kevin rated it it was ok
It didn't have the things that I look for in stories or graphic novels. It lacks narrative development, character development, and any kind of arc. It's mostly a reaction (or collection of one man's reactions) to 9/11 and the government's response to it. It doesn't connect any of the dots for you in terms of what the government's reaction was or Spiegelman's own politics - you have to know or intuit these things on your own. As a book that's intended as a reaction to a traumatic event, I guess t ...more
Aug 03, 2007 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I really didn't mind Spiegelman's paranoid ramblings that so many readers were annoyed or disappointed by. I don't think that the size of the book was effective in any respect, but I enjoyed the variety of comix styles used. The illustration on p.4 of a bald eagle getting its throat cut and asking "why do they hate us? why???" was probably the most effective image in the entire book (with W riding his back). The overall feel is a totally chaotic mess streaming from Spiegelman, but I think that t ...more
Jul 07, 2007 matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A for effort, B- for execution. By no means a coherent piece of work, Spiegleman's personal take on 9/11 still stings some years later if a bit heavy handedly. That being said, could any piece of work tackle this subject in the comic medium without being so overt? I don't have the answer but i do know that something about "No Towers" seems cringe worthy if not just a tad slight. The introduction and explanation of works that inspired these strips help to understand what it is that Spiegleman was ...more
Sep 22, 2013 Petra rated it liked it
This book was too disjointed and chaotic to really enjoy. It's more a bunch of snippets bound together than it is a story.
However, perhaps that's the point? NYC after Sept. 11th must have been chaotic, unsure, paranoid, surreal. There must have been no flow to one's reality or new expectations of what's going on. In that case, this is an exceptional book. It follows completely along these lines.
The graphics are terrific. I especially liked the use of upside down strips: part of a strip is right
May 13, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to rate and review. I chose to read this book for my American Autobiographical Graphic Novels class because it deals with the trama experienced by Spiegelman during and after 9/11. It is a short read, but a powerful one. The story has multiple narratives going on at once and consists of a mixture between Spiegelman's own style and the style of old newspaper comics. The way that Spiegelman narrates his 9/11 experiences and trauma is blunt and raw and brought me back to my own ...more
Lea Dokter
Jul 11, 2016 Lea Dokter rated it liked it
Not much of a linear story, but a great, expressive graphic novel.
Still amazing the second time.
Sep 05, 2016 Alyssa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's quite painful to read this. I'm not entirely sure I understand what he's trying to say.
Art Spiegelman's attempt to process the collapse of the Twin Towers from his close-up vantage point.

7th grade - adult. I've finally hit the future: my students no longer remember this event.
Joshua Novalis
May 26, 2017 Joshua Novalis rated it liked it
"I tend to be easily unhinged. Minor mishaps-a clogged drain, running late for an appointment-send me into a sky-is-falling tizzy. It's a trait that can leave one ill-equipped for coping with the sky when it actually falls. Before 9/11, my traumas were all more or less self-inflicted, but outrunning the toxic cloud that had moments before been the north tower of the World Trade Center left me reeling on that fault line where World History and Personal History collide-the intersection my parents, ...more
May 18, 2017 Caroline rated it it was ok
This is hard to "rate." The art itself is 5 star worthy, but I found the content was though to get through. Interwoven is the true story of Spiegelman witnessing the attacks of 9/11 and racing to get his daughter from her school at the base of the towers. The rest of it, however, is the paranoid political aftermath and trauma he experienced in his rage against the Bush administration and the "War on Terror" as well as his fears of, essentially, the end of the world. If you align with basically e ...more
Feb 18, 2017 Norma rated it really liked it
I love coming across books I didn't know about yet end up loving, but it rarely happens. The Property is the tale of Regina Segal and her granddaughter Mica, who return to Warsaw to get back the family home that was lost during the Second World War. The Property is an emotional tale of heritage and family secrets, but with a sense of humour too. I picked it up because I'm intrigued by World War II stories but I got much more: an
Jun 19, 2017 Y rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Beautiful book. Deeply fascinating. As raw and honest as one always expects from Spiegelman.
Charlotte Latham
May 30, 2017 Charlotte Latham rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Harrowing and important witness to the events of 9/11.
Michael Lent
Jun 12, 2017 Michael Lent rated it liked it
Maus remains the best graphic novel I've ever read. ITSONT has its moments but feels far less realized in scope and execution.
Cole Driggs
Jun 22, 2017 Cole Driggs rated it liked it
Pretty short but it was very interesting to hear his viewpoint on the Iraqi war and 9/11 (excluding his support on government conspiracies which got a little annoying). Good read though.
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Mrs. Anderson's E...: In The Shadow Of No Towers 1 5 Mar 10, 2016 09:06AM  
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Art Spiegelman (born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev) is New-York-based comics artist, editor, and advocate for the medium of comics, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic memoir, Maus.
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