Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I broke into the other book I was reading when In the Shadow of No Towers arrived in the mail. This book of only 42 pages, including 10 double page comix style, took me two hours to read. After each page I had to take a break...go do some dishes or make a cup of tea.

I've talked about my experiences on 9/11/2001 many times. The first few monthes every get together seemed to make its way to what happened and what we did and what we saw. I was living in Maryland, just inside the Beltway, and my family and friends in DC and Virginia, well, we all were horrified and scared, and grieving. I had friends who were in Manhattan that day and their focus on detail of what they did helped distance the horror and yet made it even more clear. There were also the media reports of what happened; tv and radio reports in first and 3rd voice giving details and emotions. It all trickled away with followup stories on "where are they now" and the stories aren't told much anymore except on the anniversaries or when the gathering is the first since the attacks. In the Shadow of No Towers is that person-to-person telling of sequence and feeling magnified by Art Spiegelman's graphics.

In The Shadow of No Towers deals not only with the actual happenings of 9/11/2001 but with the domino effect of discrimination, Homeland Security, laws, paranoia, and politics that followed. The pressure to either appear extra-patriotic or seem a traitor was something I remember well and still feel on occasion.

I haven't read a wide range of Art Spiegelman's work; I've only read Maus I and II but they are masterpieces. They, like In The Shadow of No Towers, are intensely personal yet speak globally. They also speak specifically about Spiegelman's parents experiences in Auschwitz but the story is applicable to prejudice, hatred, and genocide worldwide.

I think this book is not one to recommend. If asked, then I would talk about it and recommend it (and would certainly lend it) but readiness is something personal that I could not gauge for someone else.

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