Interesting stories, let down by medial writing skills. The intense emotional potential of such tales as near-death scrapes, regret for not caring for...moreInteresting stories, let down by medial writing skills. The intense emotional potential of such tales as near-death scrapes, regret for not caring for one's men, guilt and hatred in a Christian's heart, are not given the poignancy and power that they deserve. The writer organizes each chapter by the individual, yet he jumps around the chronology of each person's life, breaking the flow and power of the story. There were indeed some touching, moving stories, but the overall style deterred me.
But to be fair, this book is a good perspective of some special people from that time. I did learn that mens' WWII experience prompted so much new international evangelism. And I believe the first stories were more in line with my expectations than the later ones.(less)
Being only 8 or 9 years old when 9/11 happened, I started this book looking to grasp this most definitive time in our country's history.
The power of 1...moreBeing only 8 or 9 years old when 9/11 happened, I started this book looking to grasp this most definitive time in our country's history.
The power of 102 Minutes lies in its vivid and detailed description of both the Towers' inhabitants and the structure of the buildings and emergency departments. We get some of the why and much of the how connected to the rescue operation on that tragic day. Dwyer and Flynn deftly mingle the construction history (of the Trade Centers and building codes of the time), department rivalry (between Police and Fire), and individual heroism that composed so much of September 11.
The emotional response lies in what could have been: if the doors weren't as electronic, if he'd chosen to leave instead of stay, if only they knew about the open staircase in the South Tower, if only the disconnect between the Fire and Police were not as horrendous. The images are shocking and heart-wrenching, yet the choice of some to, of their own accord, join the rescue effort instead of stay home or escape themselves, is truly inspiring and poignant.
I've learned so much about 9/11 from this book. The inside story, the impact it had on the people there, the rush of it all, the ignorance of so many within the Towers that we were being attacked. The writing style engages the reader and brings him as much as possible into this terrible world. Dwyer and Flynn guides us sensibly through the buildings and through time, highlighting many men and women so that they are no more empty names and faces, but the individual lives that they were. I highly commend the authors' effort in bringing their stories alive.
The epilogue says it all - from its frame of the few minutes after the Towers fell to its center of passive narrative on 9/11 and the global scope of that day. The final survivors highlighted represent the theme of Dwyer and Flynn's work: that is was ordinary men and women, many working outside department connections, many just working beyond the call of duty, who carried the day and helped stem the tide of total disaster.
I finished this book enlightened on the events and the meaning, the sadness and confusion, of that tragic, monumental day.(less)
Stories here have moved me, inspired me, thrilled me, and set me thinking of the seriousness and strength of our fighting men and women. Because it te...moreStories here have moved me, inspired me, thrilled me, and set me thinking of the seriousness and strength of our fighting men and women. Because it tells the stories of individuals, it is incredibly personal and powerful. Some stories I would never want to forget. There is much to learn here and much to remember. I'll definitely be reading this again.(less)
What a wonderful little book! Although the writing could use some polishing, the sheer adventure, humor, and true-to-life-ness of the tales themselves...moreWhat a wonderful little book! Although the writing could use some polishing, the sheer adventure, humor, and true-to-life-ness of the tales themselves offset any stylistic lacking. The stories are heart-warming, bittersweet, comforting, saddening, frightening, enlightening, and always struck with the down-to-earth declaration that these things did take place - once upon a time. Personal accounts are always the closest way to history's heart, and this book is no exception. For a real experience of life on the home front, at the USO dances, amid longing and love, letters and leaves, this book is great. Through it, I learned little pieces of history that otherwise would drift past my notice - the doubt that women faced when dating soldiers, the fact that their letters go often to more than one man overseas, the fate of Germans and Italians in America during WWII, the danger experienced by those non-military sailors who faced U-Boats in their transport of supplies to the Allies, the horrors of the Germans against Italian townspeople in the waning days of the war. And of course, the sudden love and lasting commitment of many of the romances peppered out of the field of battle. Yes, some stories were not fantastic, may not have been so surprising or inspiring, but they were real, and they happened to real people who each had something heart-felt and honest to say. I learned many things from this book - little things like how people felt, how they lived, and how individual lives were subtly or abruptly affected by so far-reaching an event as the Second World War. The war may have broken the hearts of mothers who saw the last of their sons, it may have shocked its young soldiers, but it also brought together at least two people who owe to it the chance of their meeting and the far-reaching joy of togetherness that they often afterward enjoyed. This book shows that side of the war. Not the bloodshed and the battle, but the love and the longing, which was just as real and deep.(less)
Another personally life-changing book. This was the first book I read on World War II history, and its combination of large-scope summary and interspe...moreAnother personally life-changing book. This was the first book I read on World War II history, and its combination of large-scope summary and interspersed personal narration made for a perfect insight into the solemnity, terror, and inspiration of that time. The best history is told by those who lived in it, and this book further proves that point. It loosely follows the lives of a score of men, from their shipping out to the end of the war. It is a great book, and I highly recommend it.(less)
This book was a real eye-opener to me. It changed my perspective on war and sacrifice and on what soldiers die for, namely, their families and their n...moreThis book was a real eye-opener to me. It changed my perspective on war and sacrifice and on what soldiers die for, namely, their families and their nation, not necessarily their leader at that time. The numerous examples of nobility was so beautiful to see. Imagine a German submariner saving a British pilot that his own sub had downed? Or victorious Allies giving U-Boat prisoners their (loaded) weapons so that the latter could show them German parade formations? Or the people of the German countryside tuning in to BBC when such an act was penalized by death? Not everyone of a regime is represented by the leader of that organization. Many may be fooled, but there are still some good people who have a heart and can be trusted. This book showed me that I cannot generalize the other side as one-dimensional enemies; they are people, like you and me; have a heart, like you and me; and sometimes didn't like the people on top, yet still loved the land which was inherently theirs - much like you and me.(less)