Audiobook, History, Non Fiction

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff @vermontgmg @SimonAudio

I was surprised when television networks began promoting their plans for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 as it’s hard to fathom that event happened that long ago. For most adults in this country, we vividly remember where we were the day the towers fell, the Pentagon was attacked and those brave souls on Flight 93 thwarted the terrorists’ attempt for a strike on our nation’s Capitol. But for all my ingrained memories, there was so much I always wanted to know about that day…questions I had that weren’t addressed in any of the massive coverage. When this audiobook was offered, I accepted immediately, hoping it would fill in those gaps.

From the first moments of this book, I knew it would far, far exceed my expectations and it did. It is a rich collection of first hand accounts from people who were in the towers and survived; family members who were in communication with loved ones on Flight 93 (more than we’ve heard from in the media); those who were in the area of the Pentagon when it was struck; air traffic controllers on duty that day; first responders who survived at the towers and who found the last survivors and those survivors; those who were on the ground when the towers fell and much much more. It’s presented almost minute by minute with every conceivable group who was impacted. Sprinkled throughout are the many acts of human kindness in ways I hadn’t imagined occurring throughout the country. Lastly, we get extraordinary accounts from members of the White House administration about how they responded to the crisis.

I chose to listen to this book on 9/11 after watching the morning coverage and was riveted. The contrast between the television retrospectives and what I was hearing through my headphones was remarkable. I listened for five straight hours without a break as the accounts were so compelling. It’s an editing masterpiece with the compilation brilliantly assembled in such a way that the stories felt cohesive even though they weren’t necessarily connected. There are lots of new material, too, specifically previously unreleased transcripts of what happened in the cockpit of Flight 93 as the passengers rebelled. It also includes detailed accounts of the nightmare on the ground when the towers fell, with firsthand accounts from many who were closely positioned. I could go on and on but just implore you to listen to this book, especially if you have children who were born post 9/11. It should also be used by educators in their curriculums. The full cast narration was simply outstanding. We should never, ever forget that day and how it changed America.

Book Info

  • Release Date: September 10, 2019
  • Narrators: 45-person Cast led by Holter Graham
  • Audio Length: 15 hours, 45 minutes
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio




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(Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

33 thoughts on “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff @vermontgmg @SimonAudio”

  1. Excellent review Jo. I listened to this one over a year ago, but I still remember it vividly. It was so well done and I agree, a wonderful editing job to put all these interviews and stories together in this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s only now we’re beginning to understand the full scope of what happened that day, with the release of all this material. I’m glad you were brave enough to listen, I’m not sure I could and not break down in tears.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great point, Alexandra💜 I was so preoccupied on 9-11-2001 that I’ve always felt guilt about my inattentiveness. It wasn’t until the first tower fell that I stopped and paid attention. I feel like I owe it to all of those who lost their lives to at least know their stories.


  3. Excellent review! This is why those who read know more because media doesn’t give all the details. Books have a better chance of getting details although the author may have some bias of some sort.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “We should never, ever forget that day and how it changed America”. What powerful and moving words, I totally agree. I am glad you are writing about this book. I have seen it reviewed by other people before, but now I will definitely be picking it up. It seems very important and I will be interested in all the previously unreleased material.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful review! This book really does sound like it should be required reading. I love that it goes so far beyond what we’ve been given year after year by the news media. I had been on the fence about whether or not to listen to it, but you have me convinced that it’s too important not to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Indy (10) and I listened to a good part of this together this year, all the way from Sydney. I learned so much, as did he. It was a road trip. I then bought the physical. Then I bought it for an Australian friend, living in America. Amazing book. Your words on this are so important Jonetta.

    Liked by 1 person

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