Literature in Response to the September Criticism: Major Works On September 11, 2001 - Essay

David Edwards (review date February 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Edwards, David. Review of 9-11, by Noam Chomsky. Ecologist 32, no. 1 (February 2002): 69-70.

[In the following review, Edwards presents an overview of Noam Chomsky's central arguments in 9-11.]

‘Ha ha ha to the pacifists’, wrote Christopher Hitchens in November, as Kabul fell to the combined might of US bombers, the Northern Alliance, and the BBC's, ‘Simpson of Kabul’. Two months later, the victory celebrations continue tirelessly (almost maniacally), as the ‘first virtual war’ draws to a close. It was ‘an instant, foolproof, bloodless recipe, like Delia Smith for bombers’, crowed the Observer's Mary Riddell, demonstrating due...

(The entire section is 1151 words.)

Joe Lockard (review date spring 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lockard, Joe. “Chomsky on 9-11.” Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought 51, no. 2 (spring 2002): 249-53.

[In the following review, Lockard discusses Noam Chomsky's 9-11, noting that the work serves more as a means for Chomsky to expostulate his long-standing political theories regarding U.S. foreign policy rather than a tribute to the tragedy of September 11, 2001.]

To give due credit, it's hard to think of another man who so robustly represents the failure of progressive thought in the United States as Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky lives in a Newtonian universe of leftism where political mass and gravitational effects are...

(The entire section is 1844 words.)

Michael Massing (essay date 4 May 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Massing, Michael. “Surprise Best-seller Blames U.S.” New York Times (4 May 2002): B11.

[In the following essay, Massing describes the various popular responses to Noam Chomsky's book 9-11 and the political background behind the work.]

In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Noam Chomsky, the M.I.T. linguist and political provocateur, was constantly on the telephone, giving interviews to news organizations. In late September, he received an e-mail message from Greg Ruggiero, a senior editor of Seven Stories Press, a New York publisher. The editor of a series of political pamphlets for Seven Stories, Mr. Ruggiero had published several Chomsky...

(The entire section is 1092 words.)

Derek Hook (review date June 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Hook, Derek. Review of 9-11, by Noam Chomsky. Theoria (June 2002): 128-30.

[In the following review, Hook stresses that, despite his extreme stance on U.S. foreign policy, Noam Chomsky's arguments in 9-11 provide some useful correctives about recent political history.]

Foremost amongst Chomsky's gifts as a critical political analyst is an eye for the counter-intuitive. 9-11, a collection of interviews conducted in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, is a case in point. Chomsky's flair for political arguments that run against the grain of commonsense manifests in two particular ways here: a refutation of overly conventionalized modes...

(The entire section is 863 words.)

Matt Welch (review date 8 June 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Welch, Matt. “Manufacturing Dissent: Noam Chomsky Calls the U.S. a Terrorist State.” National Post 4, no. 190 (8 June 2002): B1-B2.

[In the following review, Welch discusses two works stemming from the September 11 terrorist attacks—September 11 and the U.S. War: Beyond the Curtain of Smoke and Noam Chomsky's 9-11.]

Just before the kidnappers sawed through Daniel Pearl's neck, they forced the Wall Street Journal reporter to “confess” that his experiences in captivity had been equivalent to those of the prisoners being held by the United States in Guantanamo Bay.

“Uh, only now do I think about that some of the people in...

(The entire section is 2073 words.)

James Poniewozik (review date 5 August 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Poniewozik, James. “The White-Collar Warrior: A Book about Flight 93 Introduces a New Kind of Hero for the Civilians' War.” Time 160, no. 6 (5 August 2002): 74.

[In the following review, Poniewozik presents a brief overview of Jere Longman's Among the Heroes, noting that the work serves as an inspiration for its readers.]

Before he caught United Airlines flight 93 from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco on Sept. 11, Todd Beamer was engaged in a kind of soul searching that we have come to think of as very post-9/11. In Among the Heroes, New York Times reporter Jere Longman writes that Beamer was tired of leaving his family for business. He...

(The entire section is 818 words.)

Walter Kirn (review date 8 September 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kirn, Walter. “Notes on the Darkest Day.” New York Times Book Review (8 September 2002): section 7, p. 7.

[In the following review, Kirn assesses various literary works about or inspired by the September 11 terrorist attacks.]

The first question, and the toughest one to answer, about the great drifts of Sept. 11 books now blowing into stores and libraries, is why do we need even one book about what happened when we saw the whole awful thing happen for ourselves, again and again, in telephoto detail, and we saw it so recently, just 12 months ago? Can the books help us remember? We haven't forgotten—and for those who wish to relive things anyhow and achieve...

(The entire section is 2930 words.)

M. G. Lord (review date 8 September 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lord, M. G. “The Fourth Target.” New York Times Book Review (8 September 2002): section 7, p. 12.

[In the following review, Lord examines Jere Longman's Among the Heroes, praising the book's focus on individual people and their stories.]

The occupants of the hijacked airliner that crashed outside Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001, were not passive victims, Jere Longman, a reporter for The New York Times, argues in Among the Heroes. Rather, they were defiant combatants.

In a powerful reconstruction of the flight's final moments—largely assembled from interviews with family members, co-workers and friends of the...

(The entire section is 1198 words.)

Frederick R. Lynch (review date 8 September 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lynch, Frederick R. “Charting Culture of Manhattan Firehouse Tested by September 11.” Washington Times (8 September 2002): B8.

[In the following review, Lynch lauds David Halberstam's Firehouse as a remarkable work that outlines the importance of close-knit relationships in the workplace.]

New York City firefighters became national heroes last September when 343 of them died trying to help others escape the doomed twin towers of the World Trade Center. However, behind all the adulation—FDNY hats and T-shirts have become popular badges of patriotism, for instance—is a compelling mystique. Who are these guys? Who takes up a profession premised upon...

(The entire section is 835 words.)

Dorothy Rabinowitz (review date 11 September 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rabinowitz, Dorothy. “His Last Battlefield.” Wall Street Journal (11 September 2002): D10.

[In the following review, Rabinowitz examines Heart of a Soldier, James B. Stewart's biography of Rick Rescorla, the chief of security at Morgan Stanley in New York City, who was responsible for securing the evacuation of 2,700 of his co-workers while losing his own life in the effort.]

The subject of a number of Sept. 11 pieces, Rick Rescorla is nonetheless a name unfamiliar to most Americans. That could soon change with the publication of Heart of a Soldier, James B. Stewart's stunningly detailed history of the British-born Rescorla, who became an...

(The entire section is 1017 words.)

Joshua Sina (review date 29 September 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sina, Joshua. “Eyes Wide Shut: Missed Signals of September 11.” Washington Times (29 September 2002): B8.

[In the following review, Sina asserts that Breakdown is one of the most “insightful and penetrating” books about the intelligence failures that are believed to have led to up to the attacks on September 11.]

Breakdown is the inside story of the intelligence community's failure to anticipate, preempt, and prevent the horrific simultaneous suicide aircraft bombings of September 11. According to Bill Gertz, the book's author, and others, al Qaeda's success in carrying out these attacks represented a Pearl Harbor failure of catastrophic...

(The entire section is 1339 words.)

Christopher E. Baldwin (review date 30 September 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Baldwin, Christopher E. “A Proud Day.” National Review 54, no. 18 (30 September 2002): 47.

[In the following review, Baldwin notes that James B. Stewart's biography Heart of a Soldier serves to highlight the many acts of heroism and personal sacrifice that marked the backdrop of violence unleashed by the attacks on September 11.]

Consider the last 18 months. It looks like The Great American Crack-up: A decade-long orgy of moneyed excess and Clintonian evasion comes to a climax in roiling capital markets and collapsing portfolios, domestic terrorism and foreign war, disgraced clerics and discovered corporate thievery. Even baseball threatened to let...

(The entire section is 1243 words.)