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The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff
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The Only Plane in the Sky

An Oral History of September 11, 2001

$34.49 USD

Get for $14.99 with membership
Length 15 hours 54 minutes
Language English
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2020 AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR AUDIE AWARD WINNER!

2020 MULTI-VOICED PERFORMANCE AUDIE AWARD WINNER!

Audio bonus! The audio edition includes an exclusive interview with Garrett Graff and Holter Graham as well as archival audio from United States Presidential addresses, In-Flight Communications, and Air Traffic Control.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“This is history at its most immediate and moving…A marvelous and memorable book.” —Jon Meacham

“Remarkable…A priceless civic gift…On page after page, a reader will encounter words that startle, or make him angry, or heartbroken.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Had me turning each page with my heart in my throat…There’s been a lot written about 9/11, but nothing like this. I urge you to read it.” —Katie Couric

The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from voices on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma.

Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower to The 9/11 Commission Report. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through firsthand.

Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, he paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.

Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker under the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.

More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from trying to rescue their colleagues.

At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.

Garrett M. Graff, a distinguished journalist and bestselling historian, has spent more than a dozen years covering politics, technology, and national security. Today, he serves as the director of cyber initiatives for The Aspen Institute and is a contributor to Wired, CNN, and Politico. He’s written for publications from Esquire to Rolling Stone to The New York Times, and edited two of Washington’s most prestigious magazines, Washingtonian and Politico. Graff is the author of multiple books, including The Threat Matrix, the national bestseller Raven Rock, and the New York Times bestseller The Only Plane in the Sky.

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Reviews

"'The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11' is a book exquisitely suited to audio format, a detailed cataloging of hundreds of personal stories, read by actors and culled from 5,000 oral histories conducted and archived around the country. . . . We hear from first responders, office workers in the twin towers, people traumatized by witnessing falling bodies (among those people: Rudy Giuliani). . . . Graff’s project beautifully achieves its chief goal—educating people too young or born too late to remember what the day of Sept. 11, 2001, felt like."

  "This powerful audiobook is narrated by an appropriately understated but very talented cast. The author and narrators take us back to one of the most consequential days in recent history—September 11, 2001. The cast chosen for this oral history, led by Holter Graham, is exceptional. They set the right tone of reverence, respect, and awe. No voice is overstated, no emotion too raw. The stories tell themselves, and their power needs no embellishment. Voices, including one from the International Space Station, are familiar and unfamiliar, as are the views they express. The production will either remind listeners of that tragic day or make clear to those too young to recall it the reasons that 9/11 left such an imprint on the memories of those who lived through it." "The Only Plane in the Sky is an audio and historical masterpiece. Journalist Garrett Graff draws on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, interviews and oral histories from nearly 500 people. The audio edition includes chilling archival audio from in-flight communications and air traffic control during the attack. If you remember exactly where you were on 9/11, listen to this book. If you’re too young to recall 9/11, listen to this book. . . . Its message is a timely reminder of how ordinary people, working together, can weather any crisis." Expand reviews
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