American Ground

I’ve been reading The Atlantic Monthly’s three part series called American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center, written by William Langewiesche (the writer whose impeccable writing also covered the Egypt Air disaster for the same magazine). It’s some of the most compelling, lucid writing I’ve read in ages and ages.

Unfortunately there’s only excerpts available on their site (for Part One: The Inner World, and now Part Two: The Rush to Recover), but there’s also an interesting interview with the author, entitled Inside the Ruins, where he says:

The reaction to the collapse of those towers represented the healthiest strains and the strongest strains in the United States. The towers themselves, before they were attacked, represented something else about the United States, and probably not the most attractive thing. They represented Big Brother in the biggest way. They represented Big Organization�the monolithic company or government. They were very much a totalitarian representation of centralized structure and control.

It astounds me to think that we’re rapidly approaching the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Where did this year go? How did it disappear so quickly?

One thing I know is that date has become a kind of chronometric signpost; by the force of its overwhelming tragedy and irrevocable connection to who we are, it has become part of our collective calendar. To me, it all still feels very close.

ISSN 1499-7894
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