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Report from Ground Zero

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  619 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
The tragic events of September 11, 2001, forever altered the American landscape, both figuratively and literally. Immediately after the jets struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center, Dennis Smith, a former firefighter, reported to Manhattan’s Ladder Co. 16 to volunteer in the rescue efforts. In the weeks that followed, Smith was present on the front lines, attendin ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Plume (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,814)
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Brad H
Sep 22, 2012 Brad H rated it it was amazing
WOW !!!!

As a avid reader and lover of books I am at a loss for words.

This book, is one of the finest and truest examples of what happened and those effected. Not some political figer pointing. Not why it happened...but what really happened.
I cried, I cheered, and have read this book 3x.

If I ever win the Lotto....I would exhaust my $$$ to bring this to screen.
America might not be ready or willing to see it on screen.
But, by God I would make them. This would make one of the most epic movies, if t
Aug 25, 2008 Samantha rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one...
I really wanted to like this book...really I tried; however, I just couldn't find it in me to enjoy a 400 page pat on the back. The self-centered author, who makes frequent references to his popularity among firefighters due to his other book "Report from Engine Company 82," his powerful friends (he refers to Mayor Guiliani in the book as 'Rudy') and his significant skills (he writes someone told him on the piles, 'You're the natural. If anyone can do it, you can.") makes me want to scream. Sept ...more
Sep 27, 2012 Chrissy rated it really liked it
Shelves: firefighting
I liked this book and enjoyed the fact it shed light on what the firefighters went through on that fateful day and the subsequent days afterward. Dennis Smith is a well-known firefighter turned writer, and I would recommend this book of his to others. However, if a person were to only read one book about 9/11 and/or about the 343 firefighters that lost their lives that day, I would adamantly recommend The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge at Rescue 2 Firehouse instead of this one. While this book i ...more
Rebecca McNutt
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Dennis Smith was among many who helped to rescue people from the wreckage. However, as recalled in his emotional and honest writing, seeing all the suffering does start to take its toll on you. Of course, this book is also very inspirational, because many lives were also saved at the time, and although the aftermath will never be over as evident from all the conspiracy theories and airport security and supposed plans for studying human mind-altering research ...more
Feb 24, 2015 Ana rated it it was amazing
Other reviewers have said that this author loved to include how many links he had to famous people at every chance he got. While that's true I viewed it as him simply informing the reader of events he attended in the days following 9/11 & those people being a part of it.

The first half of the book is full of various testimonies from firefighters that were present that clear September morning. The accounts are full of insight, heartbreak, and in a couple of cases-hope. The second half is the a
The first half of the book was well worth reading - heart wrenching, personal accounts of the day itself. a real perspective on how it was to live through, and be in, such a life-changing experience. The second half was written like a diary of the two months afterwards, by the author. Whilst it gave some perspective on those two months and the agony of trying to find survivors and then trying to find remains it felt a bit too self-centred in places and also seemed to completely ignore the majori ...more
Vicki G
Aug 15, 2016 Vicki G is currently reading it
This guy, Harry Meyers, is a gd b*stard, a typical person from New York City who's in charge and thinks that means of the world, not just the site at Ground Zero.
He's there complaining about how DIFFIcult his job of searching for bodies is, of which BTW (but not as a total aside) they never found our loved one's remains. All those "body parts" and innards they're mentioning that were "all over the place" and they couldn't find even the tiniest bit of Eric's DNA to match with the several samples
Steve Parcell
Jul 07, 2015 Steve Parcell rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-history
In football parlance (soccer to my chums in the USA) this book is a game of two halves.

The first half is a collection of stories regarding those involved in this terrible event. If they were done separately they would be riveting enough but the author links them. It is very cleverly done as each story is intertwined and different participants describe the horrors unfolding in front of them and how this affects them and those around them. I like the way it introduces individuals and then they tak
Mar 31, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ben
I read a review before I started this book that the author was really proud of himself and indulgent in sharing all the important people he knows. It took me awhile to get it.

The first half of this book is testimonials from people that were in/at Ground Zero as it happened. Very good to give a perspective of locations and what it really sounded/felt like. Also was interesting to view these firefighters/emergency personnel as real people. I got turned off when the last testimonial was the author
Hope Bennett
Oct 23, 2014 Hope Bennett rated it really liked it
Shelves: fire-service
Report From Ground Zero by Dennis Smith- The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center

In Report from Ground Zero are real stories from a number of different people involved in the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. Author Dennis Smith, a (retired) career firefighter with the New York Fire Department, went to ground zero to help with rescue efforts right after the attacks. During the three months he was there, he was able to gather many stories of rescue workers, victim’s wives, and oth
Sep 13, 2015 Claire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
No book has ever made my cry like this one did. Like many people my age (who were just old enough to understand and be horrified and interested in the events of 9/11. I was 13 in 2001), I have great interest in the events of 9/11. I don't care about the political side of the events, but I am very interested in the stories of the people who were directly impacted on that day. I also have a strange love for firefighters - it's my secret dream job, but I'm definitely physically incapable of ever do ...more
George Amalvert
Oct 18, 2011 George Amalvert is currently reading it
Dear reader,

This books tells you about what was going on when the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11/01. it was very interesting knowing what the Firefighters were going through that day when the towers were hit. It also talks about what they were doing before the towers were hit, the most interesting story about this story was when a retired Firefighter was sitting at home and he heard that the tower one was hit so he ran across the bridge to the world trade center site and went to the n
May 16, 2013 Candy rated it liked it
I hate to give this 3 stars simply because of the subject matter. However, I don't feel it deserved a higher rating.
The first part of the book is amazing. Smith complies various interviews that he did himself of first responders that were there at Ground Zero on 9/11. He does an excellent job piecing together the interviews so that the reader gets an exact time line of the events as they unfolded through the eyes of the first responders. He even includes a dispatcher, who are often overlooked as
Stephany G
Jan 04, 2014 Stephany G rated it liked it
This was a good book. The author not only walked you through the day of this tragedy and the days that followed from his perspective, but gave you an insight to the close bond of the fire department members and their families in this great city. I have no doubt of the love and respect these men share towards their coworkers, their city, and their work. I appreciated the individual stories from those involved that we're included as well as information on how the department is set up. I wish a pic ...more
Duncan Jones
May 03, 2015 Duncan Jones rated it really liked it
The book is broken into two parts. The first contains first person accounts from firefighters that still make for harrowing reading 14 years on. The second is a diary of first 68 days following 9/11 and covers the author helping at Ground Zero, the impact of the aftermath on the surviving firefighters and families. I found it a interesting read on two levels, firstly focusing on what happened to those people whose job it is to run into buildings that others are running out of and secondly it wa ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Tabatha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A look into the events of September 11th, 2001 told mostly by first responders and the recovery efforts that followed. The first half of the book was compelling, although at times confusing due to frequent references to firefighting procedures and hierarchy. The author frequently comments on the famous and well connected people he knows which at times make it feel like a giant ego trip. The second half was a slow crawl through the recovery and cleanup efforts that followed.

It would have been a 5
Vicky Fenwick-Sehl
Mar 02, 2016 Vicky Fenwick-Sehl rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a really tough one to review. Of course, the story is mind-boggling. I understand why the author wrote it the way he did, trying to commemorate as many people and tell as many stories as possible. The reason I struggled was because the first half of the book is hearing the same story over and over again from slightly different perspectives. Reading it multiple times, however, I feel takes away from the true shocking nature of what happened, and I felt almost desensitized to a story that ...more
Dianne Henderson
May 22, 2016 Dianne Henderson rated it liked it
As someone who is an avid watcher and reader of all things 9/11, I found the second half of the book much more interesting than the first. Simply because I've heard a lot of stories about the actual day 9/11 and not so much about all the dark days after. This book does a great job showing from a first hand account what the aftermath of 9/11 was really like and the steps those affected took to cope with their loss. I was also happy to read such a great dedication to the heroes from that day and t ...more
Aug 23, 2015 SouthWestZippy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Good book, just hard to read through all the tears.
Jan 19, 2016 Kevin rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the cops and fireman at ground zero during 9/11. Very well written by the retired fireman author. I would recommend it.
Apr 27, 2008 Sherri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: history-politics
This book made me cry when I read it, but it also helped me to feel what it must have been like being in NYC on 9/11 rather then watching it on TV from home. As much as I could watch the coverage, (which I seemed to be doing 24/7), this book made it seem more personal. It is written like a journal and has all of the emotions and feelings of a diary. The emphasis is not on grammar and correct word usage but on what was going on at the time. I thought that it was great.
Feb 12, 2016 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I really really wanted to enjoy this book and I feel reluctant to only give it 3 stars but I just felt like it was missing something. Obviously the subject matter was there, it was truly a horrifying moment in history and while these accounts were truly compelling and fascinating the author could have done a better job in regards to a) how they were set out and b) his own narrative.
I put the book down at page 125 and didn't want to continue any further.
Sep 11, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about 9/11. I found that I didn't want to put it down, but sometimes I just had to. This book is filled with personal stories from the firefighters families that didn't make it, there are also stories from the firefighters that rushed down there to help their "brothers". This book also explains why the towers came down so quick.
Oct 22, 2009 Genevieve rated it really liked it
Hearing the accounts of these people was amazing. I can't even begin to imagine what they have gone through. There are quite a few accounts of the accident and I found myself getting "bored" with the same story. And then I remembered that these stories are real and were very real for those that lived them. I was then able to finish listening to them with a better appreciation for the individuals.
Aug 13, 2007 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: davesbookshelf
Its a great book for any man/woman that wants to be a fireman. It makes you realize that fireman, and women have a an out ragious jobs upon their shoulds, and makes you really appreciate what they had to go through during the 9.11.01 situations. It made you say wow ever time you read a chapter of the books, and its really what made me want to become a firefighter, and fullfill my dreams!
Sep 02, 2014 Bethany rated it really liked it
this is the firefighters perspective of Sep 11th and the subsequent days that follow. I have not read a book before about firefighters but their loyalty and true brotherhood is incredible. the book provides factual information, eyewitness accounts, and even some eulogies. it had me in tears, with chills and a shear sense of awe. I am grateful to have read this.
Jan 28, 2009 Sean rated it it was amazing
Great book. The real story of the uniformed men and women in the WTC on 9/11. No Bull... no fluff... just their real stories. I was enthralled in the guys of engin 39? telling their story of surviving the collapse of 1WTC while they were in the stairs of the building. Simply amazing. A little 'Rah-Rah-ish', but we need that every once-in-a-while.
Amy Giveans
Sep 20, 2011 Amy Giveans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading. 9/11 is a day we will never forget and this book follows the fire fighters who where the first to respond, to the search and rescue, through the search and recovery. I thought it was amazing. The stories are heartbreaking but the human spirit is an amazing thing. A book every high school kid should read.
Sep 07, 2013 Bill rated it it was amazing
Very good narrative, in the first person, from several people who were very close to this tragedy. Reading it brings tears to my eyes, but also helps me to never forget. I hope all the survivors and victims families knows that there are many who think of them daily and will never forget their sacrifice or suffering.
Aug 12, 2012 Audrey rated it it was amazing
As second generation fire fighters, my brother and I can only handle this book in small doses, but can't put it down for long.... It stirs an emotion from us despite the fact that we didn't know anyone personally effected by the day the twin towers fell. All fire/rescue/police officers should read this!
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During his 18 years as a New York City firefighter, Dennis Smith developed a profound respect for the professionalism of the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and nurses with whom he worked in the more than 40 alarms his engine company responded to every day. He witnessed their willingness to give of themselves in the course of their duty. His experiences in the fire service have been immortali ...more
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