10 Books about the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

When the terrorist attacks in America happened on September 11, 2001, I was in the ninth grade, and in my current events class. We had the news turned on in the background as we always did, and we were taking turns talking about interesting news articles we had found. The classroom’s phone rang, and our teacher answered, then immediately walked over to the television to turn the sound back on. We were watching a live feed on CNN of one of the World Trade Center towers, with black smoke rolling out of the building near the top. The reporters were saying that a small plane may have hit it. My teacher, my classmates, and I were having a discussion about how someone could fail so badly at piloting and hit a skyscraper like that.

And then the second plane hit, on live tv.

None of us said anything for a while. Our teacher finally spoke, and said, “Someone’s attacking us.” I didn’t know what to think. I may have been young, but I could sense that these were events that were going to have a major impact on everything that happened afterward; a truly historic event.

From the moment of the second plane hitting, as we all moved from class to class, we watched updates of a fire at the Pentagon, planes being grounded all over the country, people jumping from the top floors of the World Trade Center as they chose to fall rather than suffocate or burn, the South Tower collapsing, soon followed by the North Tower, and then reports of a plane crash in Pennsylvania. The news was filled with speculation early on, while we all grappled to understand who did this to us and why. It was, and still is, heart-wrenching to watch the events unfold on live tv.

The attacks changed America in so many ways and impacted so many families directly. 2,996 people died, and more than 6,000 were injured. Some families weren’t even given the opportunity to bury their loved ones, as many remains were never found in the rubble. First responders are still dealing with the health implications of breathing in asbestos and other particles from the collapse of the towers.

The events of September 11, 2001 are important to remember. Here are ten books that pay tribute to the devastation of that day.

  1. Falling Man by Don DeLillo
    Falling Man - Don Delillo
    Amazon | Goodreads
    This is a fictional account of Keith, a 9/11 survivor, his estranged wife, and their son as they come to terms with the horror of what happened.
  2. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
    Amazon | Goodreads
    Read my full review of this book
    Oskar is a nine-year-old boy whose father died in the towers, and whose remains were never recovered. One day Oskar finds a mysterious key among his father’s things, and this is a tale of him searching all of New York City to find the lock that complements it.
  3. September Roses by Jeanette Winter
    September Roses - Jeanette Winter
    Amazon | Goodreads
    This is a children’s picture book about two South African sisters who are stranded at LaGuardia airport in New York City on the day of the attacks. They end up making a public memorial out of roses for the victims.
  4. No Day Shall Erase You – Alice M. Greenwald
    No Day Shall Erase You - Alice M Greenwald
    Amazon | Goodreads
    A companion guide to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City and published on the 15th anniversary of the events, this book provides photographs and essays about what happened.
  5. 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn
    102 Minutes - Jim Dwyer
    Amazon | Goodreads 
    Using interviews and the transcripts of phone calls and emergency radio transmissions, this is the story of what it was like inside the Twin Towers after the first plane hit. It’s certainly a chilling read, but an important one.
  6. In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman
    In the Shadow of No Towers - Art Spiegelman
    Amazon | Goodreads
    From the creator of MausIn the Shadow of No Towers is a graphic novel following the aftermath of 9/11.
  7. America is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell by Don Brown
    America is Under Attack - Don Brown
    Amazon | Goodreads
    This is another children’s book, one that aims to explain what happened in a straightforward and easily-understandable way for children who weren’t around for the real events.
  8. The Ground Truth by John Farmer
    The Ground Truth - John Farmer
    Amazon | Goodreads
    John Farmer was one of the primary contributors to the 9/11 Commission Report. His book is a look at what happened in the background before, during, and immediately after the attacks.
  9. Flight 93: The Story, the Aftermath, and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11 by Tom McMillan
    Flight 93 - Tom McMillan
    Amazon | Goodreads
    This book is an account of everything that we know happened on United Airlines Flight 93, which was taken down by passengers after being hijacked towards an unknown destination.
  10. A Widow’s Walk by Marian Fontana
    A Widows Walk - Marian Fontana
    Amazon | Goodreads
    Marian Fontana’s husband, a NYC firefighter, dies on 9/11. This memoir is about the grief that followed. Fontana became an activist and helped found the September 11th Widows and Victims’ Families Association

There are so many books out there, so if I’ve missed any, please add them down below in the comments.

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