Mark Maguire's Reviews > Last Man Down: A Firefighter's Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center

Last Man Down by Richard Picciotto
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's review
Jun 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 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 trivialise the events on that day. Thankfully, my concerns proved to be unfounded as I worked through the book in quick time without objection.

The book was a compelling read. The narrative takes you from the Author's pre-attack assumption of a "normal" working day, commuting into New York by way of a bakery to buy Bagels for the crew at the Firehouse, through to the the Author's shock at the images he was seeing on the TV at the Firehouse once the attacks had commenced; culminating in his arrival at the World Trade Centre where the story unfolds in spectacular detail.

The incidental details that the Author recounts during his ascent, and descent, within the North Tower, create an incredibly powerful mental picture of what he and others, encountered. The "story of survival" is made all the more potent by the fact that, as the Author is working through the offices of the North Tower looking for survivors and encountering other rescue personnel during his ascent, his colleagues in the South Tower are losing their lives as the Tower collapses. The apocalyptic environment that the Author finds himself operating within leads the reader towards the emotional, and psychological, struggle to come to terms with the grim new reality whilst also considering mortality.

I have read a number of books on the 9/11 attacks and this one was one of the most enthralling. I have always had a tremendous respect for the First Responders that ran into the Twin Towers as everyone else was making their way out from them. This book gave me an insight into the strength of character of the Author and his resolve to rescue as many people as possible whilst being aware that both himself and his colleagues may die in the course of their duty.

Highly recommended.


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Reading Progress

June 25, 2012 – Started Reading
June 25, 2012 – Shelved
June 25, 2012 – Shelved as: biography
June 25, 2012 – Shelved as: fiction
June 26, 2012 –
page 60
June 27, 2012 –
page 154
June 28, 2012 –
page 200
June 28, 2012 – Finished Reading
June 17, 2014 – Shelved as: 9-11

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