9/11. A Survivor's Story.


Non-Fiction - Memoir
200 Pages
Reviewed on 09/19/2018
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Artie Van Why's 9/11: A Survivor's Story is a nonfiction memoir. Van Why was there, at Ground Zero, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. He had originally moved to New York City in pursuit of a career as an actor, and had become a nighttime word processor for a midtown law firm. When that firm merged with another, he was offered a daytime job at the firm’s downtown offices just outside the World Trade Center plaza. That plaza quickly became a part of his daily life and ritual -- sipping coffee before working, enjoying the seasonal changes during lunchtime, being a part of the community of workers and tourists who made that plaza and those buildings their own. His first inkling of catastrophe was the sudden boom and shaking of the building where he worked. Then, he and his coworkers stared aghast out their offices’ large picture windows at the unthinkable. Van Why ran out to the plaza and found his parents’ biblical version of hell to have taken the place of his beloved plaza, which was so full of life just a few moments before. Oddest of all was finding himself ankle-deep in paper as he left his building. Millions of sheets of white paper giving the streets a surreal glow. But his attention shifted inexorably to the flames above and the screaming. What could he do? How could he help? Van Why tried to figure a way to get to the tower and render some sort of assistance, but the air above the plaza was raining debris, shards of metal, glass falling like monstrous hail. His life would be forever changed by his experiences that morning. This is his story.

I knew when I saw Artie Van Why’s memoir that I had to read it. I also knew it would be a grueling experience, and it was. Van Why’s empathy for those doomed jumpers, who chose flight over the horrors of the flames, is enduring, and I could see that he carries them with him to this day. His descriptions of that morning were especially moving for me for my own personal reasons. I had worked in that area for over a dozen years and had only just left a few years before 9/11; my building was just a block away from Van Why’s. The sense of loss I felt on hearing the reports as they happened was profound, but I never really felt it as deeply and vividly as when I read Van Why’s account. I could see that plaza and visualize the moving stairs going down to the commuter trains I took each day, and wondered, once again, if I would have made it to work that day before the planes crashed. Like Van Why, I mourned the loss of that bookstore and wondered about the man who sold flowers in the tunnels. Yes, we are all survivors of 9/11. Our lives were inexorably changed, our wounds still seethe unhealed beneath the surface. Van Why’s story is a profoundly moving one; his words and the blogs which follow his memoir helped me to begin to more fully process the loss of that morning and the impact it’s had on all our lives. I could not recommend a book more highly than I am recommending 9/11: A Survivor's Story.