Choices for reading material have changed since 9/11, as evidenced by three new bestsellers. In hardcover, Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center by Angus Kress Gillespie was first published by Rutgers University Press in November 1999, with a first printing of 3,000; since the attack, the publisher has gone back to press for 40,000 more copies. The author's goal, according to the book's press release at that time, was to capture "a normal 24-hour day in the Twin Towers, starting with early-morning food deliveries and ending with the patrols of nighttime security guards." Gillespie, an associate professor of American studies at Rutgers, offers some fascinating statistics, including that the World Trade Center project cost just under $1 billion to build—considerably less than the estimated $40 billion to remove the rubble and rebuild the complex.
Two new trade paperbacks hit the PW bestseller list: Prima's Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America by Yossef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional task force on terrorism and unconventional warfare, and Yale University Press's Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid, a journalist who spent more than 20 years as a reporter in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Prima's book was published in 1999 and sold just under 10,000 in hardcover. Released within days of the attack, the paper edition is now in its fifth printing, with about 170,000 copies. The publisher will give a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the American Red Cross. Yale notes that Taliban has about 225,000 copies in print.
With reporting by Dick Donahue.