Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Until The Fires Stopped Burning: A Book Review

About The Book:

Charles B. Strozier's college lost sixty-eight alumni in the tragedy of 9/11, and the many courses he has taught on terrorism and related topics since have attracted dozens of survivors and family members. A practicing psychoanalyst in Manhattan, Strozier has also accepted many seared by the disaster into his care. In some ways, the grief he has encountered has felt familiar; in other ways, unprecedented. Compelled to investigate its unique character further, he launched a fascinating study into the conscious and unconscious meaning of the event, both for those who were physically close to the attack and for those who witnessed it beyond the immediate space of Ground Zero.

Based on the testimony of survivors, bystanders, spectators, and victim's friends and families,Until the Fires Stopped Burning brings much-needed clarity to the conscious and unconscious meaning of 9/11 and its relationship to historical disaster, apocalyptic experience, unnatural death, and the psychological endurance of trauma. Strozier interprets and contextualizes the memories of witnesses and compares their encounter with 9/11 to the devastation of Hiroshima, Auschwitz, Katrina, and other events Kai Erikson has called a "new species of trouble" in the world. Organizing his study around "zones of sadness" in New York, Strozier powerfully evokes the multiple places in which his respondents confronted 9/11 while remaining sensitive to the personal, social, and cultural differences of these experiences. Most important, he distinguishes between 9/11 as an apocalyptic event (which he affirms it is not;rather, it is a monumental event), and 9/11 as an apocalyptic experience, which is crucial to understanding the act's affect on American life and a still-evolving culture of fear in the world. 

About The Author:

Charles B. Strozier, a historian and psychoanalyst, is professor of history at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where he also directs its Center on Terrorism. He is the author or editor of twelve books on the psychological and historical aspects of contemporary violence and what it means to survive, the psychology of fundamentalism, self psychology and psychoanalysis, and themes in American history. These include the Pulitzer-nominated biography, Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst; a coedited volume, The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History; and a single-authored psychological study of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln’s Quest for Union. His blog building on the themes of Until the Fires Stopped Burning can be found at www.911aftertenyears.com 

My Review:

The devestating events of 9/11 have been recollected in several different books, television documentaries, and movies, and many of the ones I have read or viewed have been very well done. But honestly, I haven't seen anything really that tells about the events from the responders/rescuers points of view. Until now that is, with the recently (September 2011) released book, Until The Fires Stopped Burning.

This book combines recollections from families, survivors, responders, and witnesses to these terrible events, and the authors expertise in psychology. Although I enjoyed the first half, reading the real-life experiences of those personally effected by 9/11, I had a more difficult time with the second half. Not sure why exactly, but it seemed way more technical than I thought the book needed to be. 

Overall, the book was good, but not my favorite read regarding this terrible event.

BUY IT: You can purchase Until The Fires Stopped Burning online here, from Columbia University Press

***I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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