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Middletown, America: One Town's Passage from Trauma To Hope
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Middletown, America: One Town's Passage from Trauma To Hope

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  145 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The single event that we know as 9/11 is over, but the shock waves continue to radiate outward, generated by orange alerts, terrorism lockdowns, and the shrinking of personal liberties we once took for granted. The stories in this book, of real people faced with extraordinary trauma and gradually transcending it, are the best antidote to our fears. Middletown, America is a ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Random House (first published 2003)
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Sep 26, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a very informative and candid book, about the residents of Middletown, an affluent suburb in New Jersey that was impacted greatly by 9/11. OF the 3000 plus casualties of 9/11, 50 came from Middletown. The author follows the emergency workers, widows, sisters, brothers, parents, and partners of victims lost in 9/11 over 2 years. Through this journey, the reader gets a snapshot of the US immediately following the attacks, and also afterwards, after the media coverage moved on to other hea ...more
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History Lovers
Shelves: history
Gail Sheehy conducted 900 interviews in order to provide a snapshot of this community and its passage through the trauma of 9/11 and the days, weeks and months that followed. There is a bit of redundancy in the text, which reduces my rating from five stars to four, but the focus on how different families reacted to their losses and worked their way through the healing process.

I was astounded by the tireless efforts of the "four moms" who fought for fairness and full disclosure in the ridiculous
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book about many of the lives affected by September 11, 2001. The author does a wonderful job of intertwining the before, during, and after effects of that dreadful day. The book takes you through high-highs and low-lows of people who's lives were forever altered by the falling of the twin towers. We forget about the fatherless babies born just days after 9/11, or the mothers and fathers who lost grown firefighter sons. In this book, you'll hear about last phone calls to spou ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I finally gave up on this one, not because it's grim, although it is (I read grim books now and then), but because it's tedious. Gail Sheehy certainly does her research, but does she have to put ALL of it into each book? (This is not the first Gail Sheehy book I've given up on partway through.) I couldn't keep the people straight (though the photos helped a bit) and the whole thing lacked resonance or "juice" for me.

I feel bad writing that, because for the people involved, it was the most resona
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a hard book to read. Unlike a work of fiction, reading for entertainment, reading the details of the difficult road of recovery for everyone touched by 9/11 was sad and difficult to stick with it for prolonged periods of time. It had to be put aside on several occasions for a 'break'. Professionals have learned much about PTSD because of working with victims from the Oklahoma City bombing as well as those from the tower tragedy. Reading this work could help one understand and appreciate ...more
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Well written account of a handful of people directly affected by the 9-11 tragedy. Sheehy, by documenting the first 2-3 years of these widows and survivors of 9-11, explores post-traumatic stress and the grieving process caused by a traumatic event.I recently read that $7 Billion tax-payer dollars was paid out to the families of 9-11 victims. That figure is astonishing to me. It would have been interesting if Sheehy had explored the effects (both negative and positive) these payouts had on the f ...more
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Of all the places in America, Middletown, New Jersey lost the most residents on Sept.11th because many of them commuted to their work at the World Trade Center. The author interviews the families of the victims and they discuss how they are coping with their grief and trying to recover from the trauma. It's a truly touching story!
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Being a New Yorker, I am always interested in the stories of 9/11, as devestating as they may be. The author Gail Sheehy conducted 900 interviews in order to write this story about the community of Middletwon NJ. Although at times I felt like the stories were a little redundant, over all this is a very interesting book.
I'm always intrigued by Gail Sheehy's work, especially when she takes from her broader work of passeges in life and applies them to particular people or specific situations. Two tapes into this one, and it's good thus far.
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 9-11-texts
While many examinations of the human stories of 9/11 try to share the saddest or most gruesome details, Sheehy uses her anthropological foundations to tell real and compelling stories of very human people. Fascinating read.
Nancy Wilson
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book about one New Jersey town's reaction and recovery from the events of Sept 11, 2001. As a Jersey resident, it brings home our unique experience of that event. It also goes through the grief process and recovery in general and is a good read for all who struggle with loss.
Mark Dodson
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Very detailed look at how 9-11 effected the Middletown NJ families, many of who lost loved ones who worked in the twin towers. Also covers the after effects on the survivors which were for many were quite severe, and how they dealt with it.
Holle Forbes
Excellent book. Informative.
Barb P.
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not what I thought it would be, decided not to finish it after about 60 pages.
Nov 26, 2007 rated it liked it
This is an account of one town
Bgkbarb Kochuba
very moving story of 9/11
Apr 15, 2010 added it
Middletown, NJ........9/11
Jill Meyer
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read Ms Sheehy's book and basically enjoyed her reporting. Of course, I don't live in Northern New Jersey and so I didn't know about incorrect names of places and people that a reviewer from Rumson pointed out in another review of the book in this section. But, like her, the moment I find inconsistancies of fact in a non-fiction work, I begin to wonder about other facts, too...

However, what I was left with after reading Ms Sheehy's book was the reminder of a rather tasteless joke by Joan River
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
How did the people of Middletown repair and rebuild itself emotionally after the horrors of 9/11? This community suffered an excruciating trauma. They lost so many community members on that day. But, the eventual coping skills of each and every individual affected enabled them to make gains towards living with what had happened. The event will never leave them--they had to learn how to keep remembering their loved ones, but move on.
Molar  Roller
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Apr 29, 2018
Tom Marsden
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Nov 02, 2013
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Nov 21, 2010
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Jul 15, 2011
Jill Talley
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Feb 11, 2013
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Jun 18, 2011
Jennifer Allison
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Aug 27, 2011
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Aug 22, 2011
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Oct 28, 2014
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Feb 17, 2010
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Jan 10, 2009
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Gail Sheehy is an American writer and lecturer, most notable for her books on life and the life cycle. She is also a contributor to the magazine Vanity Fair.

Her fifth book, Passages, has been called "a road map of adult life". Several of her books continue the theme of passages through life's stages, including menopause and what she calls "Second Adulthood", including Pathfinders, Spirit of Surviv
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