Introduction:WTC Living Histroy Group’s reseach Project and Methods

The data below is a sequential review of William Langewiesche’s Atlantic Monthly series, American Ground. The WTC Living History Project’s full spectrum of membership, from ironworkers to Port Authority Police, and union leaders, represent a group of WTC authorities whose expertise results from their individual actions and responsibilities of running the day-to-day operations at Ground Zero for over 9 months. Direct and intimate knowledge of the two fundamental categories of the WTC operations–rescue and recovery, and debris removal–gives our group a powerful ability to track down sources. This expertise also serves as a multifaceted lens that we use to cross-check facts and collect records. (See WTC Living History Project group members listing).

The WTC Living History group met July – October 2002, as often as once or twice weekly. Tapes were made of all meetings as part of the historical record. The frequent goal of these initial meetings, in addition to the general recording of WTC history, was to discuss specific paragraphs presented by Langewiesche in American Ground, from the beginning of Part I to the end of Part III, and to write up a sequential response.

Our three part comments below should serve as raw data that sparks readers’ questions and research. Since it is structured as a sequential response to linear running text, no hierarchy of importance among facts or comments is implied nor should be expected. Therefore, each reader needs to weigh the facts presented and rank accordingly, which issues or charges of factual error are most significant. For example, incorrect statements of fact regarding Langewiesche’s serious allegations of wrong-doing (such as looting before the towers fell or the disregard for human remains from groups other than one’s own) should be, obviously, more important than Langewiesche’s insinuations or direct statements of uniformed services lack of significance or expertise on the WTC site or any single mistake Langewiesche makes in the reporting of quantities or numbers.

Our Phase II research explores both the magazine and book versions of the American Ground, and will translate the older specific data below (along with new information) into generalizations. Generalizations will include what the group believes are the most troublesome and significant errors.

Sept. 2002 – Response to American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center. Article by William Langewiesche published in three parts in the Atlantic Monthly magazine. Factual corrections to Part 1;“The Inner World,” August 2002; Part 2, “The Rush To Recover,” September 2002; and Part 3, “The Dance of the Dinosaurs,” October 2002.

  • PART-1

    (with Internet version pagination)
    Quotes with factual errors (underlining of text not original)
    Corrected facts

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  • PART-2

    (magazine version pagination)
    Quotes with factual errors (underlining of text not original)
    Corrected facts

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  • PART-3

    (magazine version pagination)
    Quotes with factual errors (underlining of text not original)
    Corrected facts

    Read More