#FridayReads, Sept. 21–“500 Days” and “Night Strangers”

#FridayReads, Sept. 21–500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars by Kurt Eichenwald, a carefully researched and meticulously documented narrative history, encompassing much new information about the events of September 11, 2001, going well beyond what has been known before in many areas. Eichenwald made news when on September 10, he published a NY Times Op-Ed, The Deafness Before the Storm, detailing with unprecedented specificity the degree to which the Bush Administration failed to heed numerous warnings from intelligence officials about signs of an imminent attack, a column drawn from this book. This is all personal to me, since I was a lower Manhattan office worker on the day of 9/11, and have recently written, Remembering 9/11/01–Running Through a Dust Cloud in Lower Manhattan, about my own experiences that day, but even if it weren’t I would want to be reading 500 Days, the sort of book that people eager to understand the early days of the 21st century will be reading 100 years from now.

The fiction I’m just picking up, a kind of counterbalance, is Chris Bohjalian’s Night Strangers, a New England haunted house novel. The author comes from the North Country, near where I went to college in Franconia, NH. I’ve been hearing about Bohjalian for years, and am excited to finally read him.

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