The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy.

Tom Rinaldi. Penguin Press, $25 (200p) ISBN 978-1-59420-677-1
During the World Trade Center attack, many acted with selfless bravery, risking, and often losing, their lives. ESPN correspondent Rinaldi focuses on one of these heroes, a Wall Street junior associate named Welles Crowther. Raised in privilege in New York’s Rockland County, Crowther was drawn as child to the local firehouse and eventually joined the company. Although Welles successfully navigated Wall Street after college, by the summer of 2001 he’d decided to become an N.Y.C. firefighter. Welles disappeared in the chaos of the WTC attack, but his family heard reports of a young man who’d guided people to safety from the 78th floor of the South Tower. One clue helped to identify Crowther: survivors said their protector wore a red bandana. Rinaldi crafts a meticulous and vivid portrait of Crowther’s life and the desperate hours after the jets hit, including thumbnail sketches of those he aided before the towers fell. All too often, Rinaldi projects anticipatory dread before 9/11, relating that Crowther told a friend “I’m going to be part of something big” as if what happened was somehow predestined. This emphasis on premonition tells readers more about the way humans process tragedy than about Crowther’s unquestionable courage and competence. In fact, no such embellishment is needed: the young man’s actions speak for themselves. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (Sept.)

This review has been corrected to fix a mistake in the title.

Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-425-28763-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7352-8942-0
Hardcover - 291 pages - 978-1-4104-9363-7
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-59420-677-1
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-14-313007-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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