“The Eleventh Day: The Ultimate Account of 9/11” review

“The Eleventh Day: The Ultimate Account of 9/11” review

The Eleventh Day

Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swann
Doubleday, 2011

Anniversaries provide a useful moment to stand back and reflect: this book enables one to do just that.

The Eleventh Day is an excellent account of 9/11 and its aftermath. With access to thousands of recently released documents and the perspective gained from a decade of research and reflection, it investigates the response of President Bush and the US military to the attacks, and the failure to intercept the hijacked airliners.  It documents the inaccurate official stories told afterwards, considers the contentions of the “9/11 Truth” movement, analyses the motives behind the onslaught, exposes the blunders by US intelligence before the attacks, and notes how the Bush administration tried groundlessly to link Iraq to 9/11. And the book confronts the question the 9/11 Commission failed to answer: were the terrorists backed by powerful figures in other foreign nations?

Three features in particular stand out:

(1) How badly the American governmental machine responded: not merely the botched handling of intelligence in advance of the attack but the chaotic response in the hours that followed. 

(2) The way the terrorists were portrayed as inhuman religious maniacs and divorced from the wider political context. The authors make clear that: “Palestine was the issue that united the conspirators – at every level”, a fact that was played down in the official US 9/11 Commission report, as the chairman and vice-chairman subsequently admitted. And

(3) the final conclusion is that 9/11 has indeed turned out, as many claimed at the time, to be an epochal event.