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Last Man Down: A Firefighter's Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center
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Last Man Down: A Firefighter's Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  656 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Anyone who witnessed the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City probably wonders, What was it like to be inside the towers after the planes hit? New York Fire Department battalion chief Richard "Pitch" Picciotto was there, inside the North Tower, evacuating survivors, when the South Tower collapsed. He and his men quickly realized they had only
Paperback, Large Print, 347 pages
Published December 31st 2003 by Large Print Press (first published September 25th 2002)
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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer102 Minutes by Jim DwyerJust a Drop of Water by Kerry O'Malley CerraFirehouse by David HalberstamFalling Man by Don DeLillo
9/11 Related
22nd out of 129 books — 159 voters
The Last Men Out by Tom DowneyLast Man Down by Richard PicciottoReport from Engine Co. 82 by Dennis  SmithBurst Into Flame by Lyssa LayneReport from Ground Zero by Dennis  Smith
Books that feature the FDNY
2nd out of 14 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,227)
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“Last Man Down …” is one fireman’s (fire-fighter’s) terrifically American account of his working day on the 9th September 2001; the day that the World Trade Centre in New York was destroyed by terrorist attack. Anyone who missed the events taking place in New York on that day may find a reputable journalist’s report helpful; I suggest that at

Some of the phraseology in Picciotto and Paisner’s book baffleed me; for example “Maybe a doughnut fisted on the fl
Mar 03, 2012 Sam rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I found the author to be a bit arrogant at times but it was interesting to get a point of view of what it was like for Firefighters on 9/11.
After reading the book I read online a lot of the others mentioned in this book and trapped in the stairwell with Picciotto no longer speak to him because of liberties he took. Making up stuff and taking credit for actions taken by others - that kind of ruined the book for me. If it was all true it would be amazing.
Kylie Martin
Aug 12, 2011 Kylie Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend told me how good this book was. I'm about 30 pages from the end and have already lined my next book up.

The initial part of the book gives the typical 'lets rush in' american attitude. Picciotto should never have been there, he charged down and abandoned his own firehouse to help. Charged into the command centre and grabbed a group of firefighters, allocated himself a rescue. There ended up being no one to resuce so he abandoned the team he went up with and charged up further, found some
Aug 16, 2012 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a career fire captain, I was really looking forward to this book. It did not take long for me to become dubious. I was turned off early on at the frequent references to his rank. Multiple times he bragged about his fitness, and how he was running past much younger firefighters on his way up the stairwell. He failed to mention that he was carrying (most likely) only a radio, while firefighters, lieutenants, and captains were carrying firefighting tools and rescue equipment.

This Chief's accoun
Jul 14, 2007 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, thriller, 2006
I read this sometime in 2006, but I can't really remember which month.

"Last Man Down" is the amazing story of Richard Picciotto, a NYC fireman who was at the scene of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. Richard tells, in vivid detail, what it was like to experience that day. He describes his role as a fireman during the rescue efforts and tells just how crazy and chaotic the scene really was.

Surprisingly, the book isn't too emotional, except in the ending chapters. Picciotto tells the story li
Nm Boi
Mar 30, 2009 Nm Boi rated it liked it
This was another book I picked up at the station where I work. Read it in two days! Not a bad read at all. Richard Picciotto an FDNY Battalion Commander was in the World trade center on September 11th 2001 with a group of firefighters and one civilian when it collapsed sending him and the others into a fight for survival. This story gives me chills knowing what those firefighters were up against that dreadful day. And a whole new level of respect for the courage and sacrifices made that day. A t ...more
Austin Bachtel
Feb 05, 2016 Austin Bachtel rated it it was amazing
“May their spirits soar, and their legacies linger, and may their mention here stand for the bells that never rang in their honor.” By Richard Picciotto. This Quote is what he wrote before he listed all 343 firemen and women that passed away on the most disastrous day in United States history; Also known as 9/11. Richard Picciotto is the author of the book, “Last Man Down”. This book is “his” first hand look as a FDNY Battalion Commander on that day and in those building as they fell to their re ...more
Scott L.
This book is a good read, but not great. I think that Picciotto's egotism got in the way of what could have been a truly excellent book on the September 11th attacks. Having said that, I think that all the firefighters, police, EMS and rescue workers deserve credit, and I give him credit for being one of the Bravest. Unfortunately, he chose to boost himself with this book instead of the whole effort.
Steve Parcell
Oct 27, 2015 Steve Parcell rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-history
This is an excellent book written from the point of view of one of the firefighters who survived the collapse of the first tower to be hit.
Very well written and descriptive. You almost feel you are there with the author.
Thoroughly fascinating read
Aug 04, 2007 Al rated it it was ok
Wow this guy really loves himself. I certainly appreciate the fact that he made it out, but does he sit on the right hand of God? Book overall was Ok a little difficult to read at times.
Oct 25, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I read this book in a day because I just could not put it down. This book brings a new side to the tragedy of 9/11, somebody who was on the inside--literally.
Sep 12, 2009 Will rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There is to much self gratification within the book, though the subject matter is very interesting.
Keith Slade
Jul 13, 2012 Keith Slade rated it really liked it
Excellent survival story of a man caught in the World Trade Center on 9-11 and how he got out.
Linda Davidson
Jun 15, 2015 Linda Davidson rated it really liked it
Wonderful read about 9/11 from a firefighters' perspective. As the world watched the happenings and saw the towers collapse, the firefighters who were inside trying to evacuate the survivors, had no clue what was going on. Their radios didn't work, they were cut off from the world, both in communications and then by the debris that blocked their way out. This story told the frustration, heroism, and eventual rescue of the firemen who survived - and the devastation of the forces who lost so many ...more
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Volevo leggere questo libro da anni e dunque, a conti fatti, la delusione è stata parecchia :(
Sebbene ci siano state un paio di scene che mi hanno fatto sentire fisicamente male (come era d'altronde prevedibile): la gente che, disperata, si butta dagli ultimi piani delle torri in fiamme e una stanza, verso l'undicesimo piano, piena di persone sulla sedia a rotelle, con problemi di deambulazione o semplicemente troppo anziane per arrivare fino al piano terra, in compagnia di persone coraggiose e
Homo Sapien
Nov 13, 2013 Homo Sapien rated it it was amazing
Chief Rich Picciotto was stuck. As he watched the first plane hit the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, with his men at a fire station in New York city, he knew he had ot do something. He wanted to be there as badly as any of the firefighters under his command.

But despite the fire and chaos clearly visible on the news, dispatch didn't offer any orders for him, so Chief Picciotto went in alone.

Arriving at the tower, he grabbed a company of firefighters awaiting direction and headed up
The book I read about is called Last Man Down by Richard Picciotto and Daniel Paisner.

Last Man Down: This book is about heroism, on the date of September 11, 2001 a terrorist attack brought about by an infamous group called Al Qaeda hijacked four passenger air plans. Two planes hit the twin towers the third hit the pentagon and the fourth Shanksville, Pennsylvania The book tells the struggle of one man a Commanding fire fighter named Daniel Pasiner and his fellow fire fighters to save the people
Picked this up from a Bookcrossing Zone. Most of the others had some sort of war theme and somehow this seemed to go along with that. I was however far from certain that I would actually read it out of concerns of voyeurism. And once I realised there was a 'with' author, I suspected it might not be well written and be offensively formulaic.

However, when I picked it up I did not put it down until I was done. It seems to me a pretty straight (obviously other individuals might tell it differently)
Mark Maguire
Jun 29, 2012 Mark Maguire rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, fiction, 9-11
I found this book at a reduced price in a discount store. I read the preface and thought that for the price that I paid for it, it was "worth the risk". I was initially discouraged by the "fiction" classification that had been imposed on the book by the publishers.

In line with the majority of the World's population, I can still vividly remember the TV images that I was witnessed on that day and witnessed the heroism of the First Responders. My concern was, that any fictionalised account may tri
Jun 25, 2011 Janet rated it really liked it
I’ve been away from Goodreads for some time, now. It is the season for spring cleaning, for squaring away one’s life in anticipation of summer relaxation yet to come, and in preparation for the festive business of the fall. Just because I’ve stopped reviewing for a time does not mean my literary life has ceased expeditions. I’ve got a pile of excellent books, steps high, awaiting review Ops. I finished another this morning, and as I man my garage sale, I’ll begin here.

Last Man Down is the story
chad cody
That a chief!

So as I was reading this book I am currently a career firefighter/paramedic in South Dakota. At the time of 9/11 I was a volunteer firefighter. I was working a dead end job as a medal fabricated for a heating and cooling company. I was at work and over the local radio we hear about the first tower getting hit by a plane. Our foreman stopped what we were doing and brought us into his office to watch the events unfold on TV. The only thing I could think at that moment is when is my pa
Margaret Barnhart
Oct 07, 2012 Margaret Barnhart rated it it was amazing
Richard Picciotto brings to life the tragedy of 9/11 in the year 2001. Having already spent an hour in the World Trade Center complex he found himself on the 35th floor with all of his firefighter equipment; out of breath and uncertain of what to do next. Then he heard the roar. The building shook as in an earthquake. It came as if from nowhere. No one moved. Everyone was silent. It was a noise never heard before. It was gaining speed and force; making a horrific, thundering noise.

As I read my
Jan 19, 2015 Pam rated it it was amazing
Wow, it's been a while since I read a book at one sitting! I couldn't put this one down. Fire Chief Picciotto tells his true story of being trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11/01, and of his eventual escape, in this moving memoir. Definitely worth a couple of hours of your time!
Dec 25, 2010 Jim rated it liked it
Richard 'Pitch' Picciotto was one of the very few people who survived the collapse of the Twin Towers from the inside, caught up in the devastation of the implosion in the midst of trying to evacuate the building. This is the story of how he and some of his compatriots made it out, and fascinating reading it is too. We are all too aware of the images of September the 11th and most of us must have wondered what it was like to be there on that day. This book gives one unique view, and although it ...more
Mar 27, 2010 Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to confess that this book made me cry. I don't think I can read or see anything to do with 9/11 without doing so. I doubt I'm the only one. The author was one of the firefighters who went to assist on that fateful day and ended up being trapped when one of the towers collapsed. Amazingly, he wasn't seriously injured and he and his fellow trappees (I know that's not the proper word but it will suffice) escaped from the rubble virtually unscathed. It's a moving story of such a momentous occ ...more
Giorgio Orsenigo
Molto ben descritto, mi ha portato all'interno di quel dramma...dentro i resti di una culla occidentale colpita nel suo punto piu' debole. La voglia di lottare per continuare a vivere, per non mollare e rialzare la testa.
Mar 26, 2012 Xanthi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Even though this book was ghost written, it still comes across being rather amateurish. The whole book reads like an extended interview with the author. I admire his courage and gung-ho attitude and what he went through, however he is no writer. He is a man caught in extraordinary circumstances and it is good to be able to get a first hand account of what went on that day from someone who was not only there, but there in a horrifying way, and survived. I was pretty aghast at the parts where he d ...more
Yeewei Cheo
Jan 26, 2015 Yeewei Cheo rated it did not like it
The character's over-inflated ego makes it hard for me to turn the pages, interesting subject matter - tarnished with dull writings
Apr 30, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
This is the story of the last firefighter out of the World Trade Center on 9/11...he became trapped in a stairwell for approx. 4 hours after the collapse of the tower and then he tells how he, along with others escaped. It was interesting to read from his perspective...and how they had no idea what had happened or what was happening outside. I think everyone has the images of the towers collapsing and then the massive pile of rubble engraved on their brain...and these firefighters were thinking ...more
Jan 16, 2016 George rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Can't imagine surviving the WTC collapse and then being trapped inside...
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