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The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland
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The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  11,536 ratings  ·  2,024 reviews
Perfect for fans of the hit Broadway musical Come from Away.
When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an over
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 14th 2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2002)
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Joan Cavin Yes, it is a fabulous book for book club. My book club selected it last May and I will be leading the review of it at our March get together.
Julie This is the real story of the events in the small Canadian town of Gander. Because of the 9/11 attacks, the US closed down the airports and many…moreThis is the real story of the events in the small Canadian town of Gander. Because of the 9/11 attacks, the US closed down the airports and many planes were diverted to Gander. There is no specific list of characters in the usual sense - rather, the book is a compilation of lots of smaller stories of what happened in and around the town. It includes the people of Gander, as well as many of the passengers of the various planes (some named, others not).(less)

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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,536 ratings  ·  2,024 reviews

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Kristyn Conner
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. God.

Everyone should read this book. No, seriously. DeFede is such a fantastic journalist and a fantastic writer. As someone who personally leans more toward fiction than nonfiction, I don't think I could have read this entire book without someone like DeFede weaving creativity and passion throughout the pages. A+ job, man.

Aside from the fact that it was a quick and simple read (I read it in a matter of hours while sitting at my desk at work), the story itself is pretty damn unbelievable
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read as a Bookcrossing bookring.

The only thing that kept me from rating this higher was the lack (?) of proofreading and fact checking. I can only assume that since this was published days before the one year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America that there was a rush to get this on the booksellers' shelves.

Examples (some, at least in my eyes, very glaring):

- the author discusses the Gander tragedy that occurred in December 1985. This involved the members of the 101st Airborne, headquarter
Blaine DeSantis
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book that tells the story of the town of Gander, Newfoundland when over 30 planes were diverted to this remote area on 9/11. The book garners these stars not so much for the quality of the writing, but rather for the people and acts of humanity that town provided to over 6,000 passengers and crew that were forced to land there when US airspace was closed. We follow a few main passengers, a lot of the townfolk and a whole lot of compassion that this area of Canada was able to giv ...more
Dana Stabenow
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay, let me give the consumer warning up front--do not attempt to read this book without a box of Kleenex on standby. There. Got it? Good.

I saw Come From Away in NYC last month, the musical about the 38 planes that were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11, and I immediately googled to see if there was a book about it. There is, this one, although it's missing some of the stories the playwrights found in their series of interviews on which they based the play (in particular the story of Cap
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
When thirty-eight jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001, due to the closing of United States airspace, the citizens of this small community and surrounding towns were called upon to care for the thousands of distraught travelers.

The Day the World Came to Town records some of the remarkable but lesser known stories of 9/11 and shows how a community formed in the spirit of simple humanity does not exclude or reject people based on
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Great topic and the people of Gander were heroic and amazing, but I did not care for the way this book was written. It was choppy and just never seemed pulled together. i would have rather read a few stories all the way through. I also think this book was just redundant and would have made a better magazine article than a book. It just seemed a bit superficial (not profound or thorough, really just grazed the surface). But I have never really heard much about what happened to all of the diverted ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
No one had to sell me on the character of the Newfies. I served with a good many since they join the military in numbers all out of proportion to what the population of their province might suggest. They do absolutely nothing to dispel the popular conception that Canadians are a bunch of amiable bumpkins. They are a breed apart, friendly and unpretentious, and their generosity in welcoming the passengers of diverted aircraft after the attack on the WTC is truly remarkable. Where others might hav ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
“Despite the risks, Canada didn’t hesitate to accept the orphaned planes.”

Feel good story of the decade!

On 9/11, when the United States closed its airspace, the danger posed by the passengers, and the responsibility for their lives, was deflected to Canada.

Canada's response:

The stories from Gander are the best of human kindness. Jim DeFede has gathered the warmth, humor, pain, and generosity of a remarkable moment in history.

Everyone should read this book.

*audible note: I enjoyed the stea
It will remind you of the worst in mankind, but it will also introduce you to the best in mankind, and restore some of your faith in humanity, when you read about the citizens of Ganger, Newfoundland.
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
The 9/11 disaster is history now, but it is the sort of history that is always with you if you lived through it. At the time it happened, I knew the airspace over the USA was closed, but it didn't really occur to me to wonder what happened to the planes that were too far into their flights to turn back. The USA feared there could be other terrorists on those incoming planes, so the flights were re-routed to our quiet, patient neighbors to the north. Yes, many of those planes landed in Canada. Th ...more
Being an employee of American Airlines, and therefore forever tied to the events of 9/11/01 on a personal level, I can't believe I'd never heard of this book until recently. What a fantastic book it was. The writing itself is nothing fabulous, but the story is, as well as the way the author weaves the personal accounts of so many different people together to paint the overall picture. Imagine that 38 planes carrying more than 6,500 people from all around the world converged on the town of Gander ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! Made you feel that people really do care out there. If only each community could have this spirit......what a better place this world would be!!

"For the better part of a week, nearly every man, woman, and child in Gander and the surrounding smaller towns stopped what they were doing so they could help. They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such huma
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is poorly written and quickly became boring to me, but I did learn some things I did not know before. The reading group who chose the book mostly felt the same way and our discussion lasted about twenty minutes before it devolved into the usual these days: a discussion of our new President and how he is doing.

But the book: On 9/11 right after the Twin Towers were hit, the United States closed its airspace. You may remember. I forgot that part. All aircraft headed for the US from other
On the day that terrorists attacked the United States— September 11, 2001, four jetliners were hijacked and used as “weapons” to murder thousands of innocent people. At that time, the Federal Aviation Administration made an unprecedented decision to close U.S. airspace indefinitely. However, hundreds of aircraft were already in the air and bound for destinations in the U.S.

All of the incoming flights had to be diverted elsewhere. A total of 252 incoming flights were diverted to Canada. Canadian
Fuzzy Gerdes
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I had a very interesting 2012 and one of the most interesting things—visiting Istanbul—turned into another unusual experience: our plane back had an engine die and we had an unplanned landing in Gander, Newfoundland. I was fascinated by the town and how a local industry was taking care of stranded travelers.

One of the stories that came up several times from locals was about how the town had dealt with 9/11. When American airspace was shut down that day, 38 planes carrying 6,000 people had to lan
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for a feel good story, this is it!! I loved what this town did to help out some weary passengers during one of the scariest times in our history.
Zohar -
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
f I started reading a book about 9/11 and a few pages into it found that an American General, a CEO of an international clothing conglomerate, several members of the board of a wealthy charity, an NYPD detective and parents of a firefighter who is lost in the World Trade Center were stuck in a small Canadian town in the middle of Newfoundland (not to mention a long-lost native son) I would have put the book away with a chuckle and started a new one.

Nevertheless, this is not fiction and the even
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody who can read
Recommended to Donna by: Jasbir
Shelves: non-fiction
An amazing story. I couldn't put it down. I want to move to Newfoundland now. When 38 jetliners bound for the US were forcd to land in Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11th the citizens of this communinity rallied together to care for thousands of stranded and very disturbed travelers. There was no stone unturned as they showed compassion and caring like nothing I have ever read about. I have never read a book about 9-11 because even ten years later I just didn't want to. I thought I had heard ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Stitchywoman by: Assigned reading for work
Shelves: nonfiction
The book has a great premise, another side of 9/11. However, I found the book redundant. I get it, I get it already. The town of Gander is filled with saints. I also found the story hard to follow at times. There were people that walked in and out of the story and it was difficult to keep them all straight. The story itself was difficult to follow. The book kept jumping from story to story to the point that I was loosing track of what day in the drama we were in.

My review might be a little hars
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was a somewhat interesting story with amateurish writing. It should have been a long magazine article, not a book. It was padded with a lot of facts nobody cared about.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
When hijackers turned 4 large commercial airplanes into massive bombs on 9/11, the US immediately closed its air space fearing additional hijackers were on route. This left numerous international flights in need of an alternative place to land because they were too far to return to their origin. Canada responded by opening its airports to these stranded planes despite the risk to itself. The tiny community of Gander Newfoundland became the landing field for more than 6,100 passengers and crew. T ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the true story of the passengers of the 38 jetliners that were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 when the US air space was closed and all planes were diverted away from the US. Jim DeFede tells an inspiring story of a community that opened their arms to all the passengers (including the animals in the planes) that could not return home.
Though I distinctly remember 9/11 and that horrible day, I had never heard of the community of Gander, who truly countered the horribleness
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A quick, feel- good read. Like many others, I became interested in this book after seeing Come From Away. It's pretty inspiring.

Content warning: some mild language
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great read. It is amazing as so much hatred and fear were happening, a wonderful town opened their homes and hearts to many people from across the world. I have a friend who is from Gander and I can see where she got her kind heart.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I surprised myself by really enjoying this book. It was't deep or intellectual, but it told an interesting story. We got a slice of many different passengers' lives- these 6000 plus people stranded in Gander , New foundling on September, 11th, and we got a wonderful introduction to the people of Gander and their amazing care taking of these passengers.
Nicole Means
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever finished a book, clutched it to your chest, and spoken the words “WOW!” aloud. Well, if not, after you read this book, you will have this exact reaction. “The Day the World Came to Town” reminds us that despite of all the evil that exists in today’s society, there is hope. Good does exist! Media spends so much time focusing on all the bad in the world, that sometimes we fail to remember that for every evildoer there are 100s “good” doers.
The premise of this book surrounds the even
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-author
I found this book to be a fascinating tale of a small town in Newfoundland and how it coped when over 6000 people were forced to land on September 11, 2001. the book takes place over about 4 days and captures the individual stories of some of the passengers, crew, and Gander residents. Now that some time has passed since this horrific event took place, it was a pleasure to read this book and have it feature the best of humanity and Canadian hospitality. The book is peppered with facts about that ...more
J L's Bibliomania
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 In Gander, Newfoundland was an account of how the town of Gander, Newfoundland and surrounding communities responded to the passengers and crew of the 38 planes that diverted there once the US closed our airspace after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It's a almost unbelievable tale of the best of what it means to be human coming together to create good out of tragedy with more than 6,500 passengers and crew arriving in an area with only 10,000 re ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
I've been spoiled. This book SHOULD have been written by Laura Hillenbrand. Now THAT would have received 5 stars. As it was, the author could well have just taken everything he had to say and put it into a nice lengthy magazine article. I found almost no one to identify with. Sure the Newfies gladly took in 6600 grounded travelers on 9/11. Sure some of them were diplomats and parents returning home with newly adopted babies. Sure they made friends with each other. But was that all?????
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's such a delight to read a book on a subject you thought you knew so much about only to find out how much you didn't know. The stories detailed in its pages made me once again realize that, despite our differences, there is a response to human need that transcends those differences and reminds us of how truly connected we are. In this world of ever increasing violence, it was nice to be reminded of humanity's goodness. Thanks for the reminder Gander, Newfoundland. P. S. Keep a box of tissue h ...more
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“They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed. If the terrorists had hoped their attacks would reveal the weaknesses in western society, the events in Gander proved its strength.” 7 likes
“Neighbor to neighbor. It is a mentality that has been fostered over centuries, since the earliest settlers realized the only way to survive in this desolate but beautiful outpost was to work together. Much of their music captures this spirit.” 4 likes
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