cover image Closure: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Recovery Mission

Closure: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Recovery Mission

William Keegan, Jr., with Bart Davis. . Touchstone, $25 (234pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-9186-6

What makes this personal account of the post-9/11 recovery effort at the World Trade Center site particularly moving is the willingness of Keegan, an operation commander at the site, to delve into unsettling issues. The 20-year Port Authority Police Department veteran understandably lauds the work of his fellow NYPD and FDNY officers as they sifted the rubble from the terrorist attacks: "In the midst of hell we found the face of God," he writes. But he freely discusses the emotional strain of looking, day after day, for bodies—or parts of bodies—of the victims, many of them colleagues and friends. At the same time, Keegan is critical of the therapists sent to counsel the workers as "too eager and intrusive," aggressively pursuing those who simply wanted to be alone for a few minutes. He also discusses his campaign to win public recognition for PAPD recovery workers, who had a much lower profile than those of the NYPD and fire department. In the end, his efforts succeeded: it was Port Authority officers who raised the steel-beam cross that became the site's symbol. Only those made of something stronger than steel will fail to be deeply moved by this book. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Sept. 11)