A controversial book that portrayed
firefighters as Ground Zero looters failed to win a
prestigious literary award last night.
FDNY supporters, rallying for a third straight day
outside the New School, where the National Book Critics
Circle announced its annual winners, jeered author
William Langewiesche - and cheered his loss.
Langewiesche's book, "American Ground: Unbuilding the
World Trade Center," contends firefighters from Ladder 4
stuffed Gap jeans into their rig during the mayhem that
followed the attacks.
"This is a fictional book, basically," said FDNY
Chief Ronald Spadafora. "It paints the Fire Department
in a very bad light, and we don't deserve that."
Langewiesche, a correspondent for The Atlantic
Monthly who lives in France, didn't show up for the
His book lost out to "A Problem from Hell: America
and the Age of Genocide," by Samantha Power.
Elizabeth Taylor, president of the book award panel,
said the controversy had no effect on the selection
Derek Rose and Tamer
on February 27, 2003