Nine Months at Ground Zero: The Story of the Brotherhood of Workers Who Took on a Job Like No Other

Glenn Stout, Author, Charles Vitchers, Author, Robert Gray, Author , photos by Joel Meyerowitz. Scribner $25 (257p) ISBN 978-0-7432-7040-3

When the World Trade Center fell, construction superintendent Vitchers and crane operator Gray were among the hundreds of workers hired by one of the management firms selected by New York City's Department of Design and Construction to recover bodies and clear debris. The authors recall how tensions grew between construction workers and fire and police personnel as the latter focused their efforts on recovering the bodies of their colleagues, slighting civilian casualties, who received no honor guard or a flag as they were carried out of the pit. Aided by freelancer Stout, Vitchers and Gray have harsh words for the DDC, which often put bureaucratic and political concerns above the recovery process: "The faster and cheaper the work was done, the better the DDC would look." Morale was low, site safety was problematic and chaos often reigned at ground zero. Although it has some worthy moments—particularly, the demythologizing of the firefighters, the shoring up of the unstable slurry wall and the logistics of removing millions of tons of debris from a burial ground—this feels like an also-ran among the mass of 9/11 titles. 8 pages of color photos not seen by PW . (Apr. 25)

Reviewed on: 03/06/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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