Nearly three thousand people died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In Lower Manhattan, on a field in Pennsylvania, and along the banks of the Potomoc, the United States suffered the single largest loss of life from an enemy attack on its soil.
For in its meticulous compilation of fact, the report makes the horrors of 9/11 even more shocking. Try to read the story as a narrative, a nonfiction thriller in which the characters move inexorably toward the cataclysm of that cloudless morning. The strength of the report is precisely in its narrative power; by telling all the little stories, it reveals the big story in a different way. We see the bland evil of the plotters, the Hamlet-like indecision of government officials, the bravery amid chaos of the firefighters.