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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 ·  727 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
On September 11th 2001, Battalion Commander Richard Pitch Picciotto lead seven companies of fire fighters up the B stairway to Tower 1 of the World Trade Centre. Pitch and his men were on the 17th floor racing upward when the world seemed to explode around them. Out of radio communication with the command centre and with no time to reflect Pitch ordered the evacuation of T ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 25th 2002)
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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
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
Mar 03, 2012 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 25, 2015 Steve Parcell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 04, 2007 Al rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jul 13, 2012 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent survival story of a man caught in the World Trade Center on 9-11 and how he got out.
Dec 27, 2016 norah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction
i read this because as an english lass i was interested in knowing more about america and the situation around 9/11 but this came across as a braggy piece of islamophobic fox news kinda book.
Jim Carmalt
Jan 22, 2017 Jim Carmalt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story from a man that looked directly into the eye of his maker and escaped death while thousands died around him. Well worth the time.
Jul 26, 2016 Juanita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review: Last Man Down by Daniel Paisner.

There are probably many books out there about September 11th, 2011. This is only one man’s story of what happened to him through the harrowing experience. The book was well written and emotionally sensitive but not gory or overplayed, it was from the heart.

Chief Richard Picciotto uses his own words describing what he felt, sensed, seen, and retells the emotional roller-coaster he was on when he ordered the North Tower to be evacuated knowing there were ma
Homo Sapien
Nov 13, 2013 Homo Sapien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Maguire
Jun 25, 2012 Mark Maguire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Austin Bachtel
Feb 05, 2016 Austin Bachtel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
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
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
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)
Margaret Barnhart
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
Dec 25, 2010 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 18, 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
Scottie Binions
While reading, I came across a few names of people involved on 9/11 that were familiar to me, having read their stories in other sources (I have read hundreds of first person stories about the day). From what I remembered about these specific people's stories (survivors Firefighter Jay Jonas , 6 Ladder Crew and Josephine Harris), this account didn't seem to line up with what I thought I knew. Turns out, this story may have been fabricated to some degree or at least exaggerated. Members of FDNY a ...more
Mar 23, 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
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
Nicky Lembergs
Jul 15, 2015 Nicky Lembergs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW,WOW, all I can say!! What a book, what a story and what life changing event for everyone. I remember watching it all on TV but they never reported half of what these fireman went through. I recently was able to sit in at a conference where Richard Picciotto was the guest speaker, hearing him talk about that day was emotional but reading about the things he didn't speak about gave me tears. These men, all of them that lived through this tragedy or died during it are all hero's an ...more
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