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Book Review

Book Review: The 9/11 Report

by Lang Reid

On the front cover of this book are the words, “September 11, 2001, was a day of unprecedented shock and suffering in the history of the United States. The nation was unprepared. How did this happen and how can we avoid such tragedy again? Ten commissioners were given a sweeping mandate to find answers and offer recommendations. On July 22, 2004 they issued their report …”
The front cover also promised a Graphic Adaptation, based on the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
Published in 2006 by Hill and Wang (there was probably a message there that I missed) (ISBN 0-809-05739-5, written by Sid Jacobsen and Ernie Colon), the book was sealed as is the norm these days on the Bookazine shelves. Consequently I did not open it until I returned to my office. I had read the back cover, where ‘Spiderman’ Stan Lee was quoted as having said, “I cannot recommend it too highly. It will surely set the standard for all future works of contemporary history, graphic or otherwise, and should be required reading in every home, school, and library.” I missed the other wording on the back cover which described Messrs Jacobsen and Colon as having worked for the Spiderman comic book publishers. This was an inexcusable error.
But before I begin, let me state my position. I do not believe that 9/11 “was (just) a day of unprecedented shock and suffering in the history of the United States”, it was a day of shock and suffering for the planet earth, which has changed the entire world as we once knew it. The significance extends far wider than just the American shores. I remember watching the twin towers destruction live, and saying to my wife, “The world as we knew it has gone. Life will never be the same again.”
And so I took off the plastic wrapping to find that this book about this most momentous event in world history was a comic book, complete with the usual comic book expletives such as “FLAMM!” as one plane hits the ground, and “POK” as a Soviet soldier is killed in Afghanistan, and “BLAM!” as a suicide bomb ship crashes into USS Cole and “WHOOOSH!” as a rocket launcher hits a Taliban tank and “WHEE-OO” as the police rush to the World Trade Center.
At B. 650 this book is over-priced. It has no literary merit. It trivializes the shocking event, and if this is what is going into American homes, schools and libraries, as suggested by the back cover’s Stan Lee, then God help America. Does everyone in the USA have a 12-year-old’s mind? I do not believe so, but this book would make you think so.
If there is anything positive I can write about this pathetic book is that the sketches are quite good, even down to Condoleezza Rice’s gap in her front teeth. That is not enough reason to buy it.
However, it does quote George W Bush as saying, “I’m tired of playing defense. I want to play offence.” And thus explaining Iraq!