September 11: Seven books to ponder
Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, American society and culture has been changed in countless ways. These seven books, some published relatively soon after the attacks, others now appearing with the perspective of fifteen years, reflect the scope of the aftermath.
Once Upon an Island: Photographs of Manhattan, 1969–1970
As the decade of the 1960s drew to a close, Richard Quinney walked the streets of Manhattan with camera in hand, documenting the life of the city. After the events of September 11, 2001, the photographic images acquired a meaning and significance beyond anything he could have imagined. Once Upon an Island contains 175 photographs of Manhattan, including color photographs of the construction of the World Trade Center and black-and-white images that capture the experience of living on the island at the end of the 1960s. Like all photographs, these offer a stark reminder of the impermanence of all things; and yet at the same time, as artifacts they create an enduring record of a different time and place.
Cultural Theory after 9/11: Terror, Religion, Media
Special Issue of SubStance, Issue 115, 37:1 (2008) Edited by Robert Doran
How can one interpret the events of September 11, 2001 from the perspective of cultural theory—that is, from the perspective of anthropological and social forces that motivate human beings and give meaning to their thoughts, actions, and feelings? Though contributors to this volume work within various disciplines, their approach is necessarily holistic—because of the very nature of the event, which resonates on many levels and in diverse spheres of human activity.
American Autobiography after 9/11
In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, American memoirists have wrestled with a wide range of anxieties in their books. They cope with financial crises, encounter difference, or confront norms of identity. Megan Brown contends that such best sellers as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell teach readers how to navigate a confusing, changing world. This lively and theoretically grounded book analyzes twenty-first-century memoirs from Three Cups of Tea to Fun Home, emphasizing the ways in which they reinforce and circulate ideologies, becoming guides or models for living. Brown expands her inquiry beyond books to the autobiographical narratives in reality television and political speeches. She offers a persuasive explanation for the memoir boom: the genre as a response to an era of uncertainty and struggle.
Forthcoming January 2017
Emergency Presidential Power: From the Drafting of the Constitution to the War on Terror
Chris Edelson Foreword by Louis Fisher
Drawing on excerpts from the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court opinions, Department of Justice memos, and other primary documents, Chris Edelson weighs the various arguments that presidents have used to justify the expansive use of executive power in times of crisis. Emergency Presidential Power uses the historical record to evaluate and analyze presidential actions before and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The choices of the twenty-first century, Edelson concludes, have pushed the boundaries of emergency presidential power in ways that may provide dangerous precedents for current and future commanders-in-chief.
American Surveillance: Intelligence, Privacy, and the Fourth Amendment
Anthony Gregory highlights the complexity of the relationship between the gathering of intelligence for national security and countervailing efforts to safeguard individual privacy. The Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures offers no panacea, he finds, in combating assaults on privacy—whether by the NSA, the FBI, local police, or more mundane administrative agencies. Given the growth of technology, together with the ambiguities and practical problems of enforcing the Fourth Amendment, advocates for privacy protections need to work on multiple policy fronts.
Business Confronts Terrorism: Risks and Responses
Dean C. Alexander
In the aftermath of September 11, the daily barrage of predictions of incipient terrorist attacks against business targets—nuclear power and chemical plants, shopping malls, financial institutions, tourist attractions—has accelerated the need to understand the impact of terrorism on business.
“Terrorism is a daily threat to our core existence and has permanently changed the way we conduct our business and live our lives. Dean Alexander has addressed these unsettling issues in a riveting and thoughtful manner enabling the business leader a heightened perspective in guiding his company’s future in light of the uncertainty in which we live. Alexander’s book is a must-read for corporate America as we all enter into a new, unknown, and fragile business environment where terrorism can have such an incredible effect on a company’s performance.”—Tom Smith, President TASER International Published 2004