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Download Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama that Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama that Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11 Audiobook, by Lynn Spencer Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (196 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lynn Spencer Narrator: Joyce Bean Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781400177608
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Touching History is told through the eyes of commercial airline pilots, FAA and military controllers, jet fighters and key military personnel at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its subunit Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), and the national FAA Command Center, whose personnel had to grapple with the bizarre and unprecedented unfolding drama of the attacks. In a round-robin narrative in the style of Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn's 102 Minutes, Lynn Spencer takes readers right to the front lines of the unfolding drama as the realization hits that multiple hijackings are underway and then that the country is under attack. From the computer screen of the comptroller who first noticed that American flight 11 was flying off course, to the phone call from a stewardess onboard alerting American Airlines emergency personnel that hijackers had killed two flight attendants and entered the cockpit, to the battle cab of the military commander who ordered fighter jets in the air and the NASA-like operations floor of the FAA Command Center, to the cockpits of a number of the 4,500 commercial airliners flying over the United States that morning, Spencer follows the story all the way through the end of the day, when the fog of war had finally lifted and the country could assess exactly what had happened. Spencer conducted hundreds of interviews and spoke to every key player in the airline industry and military who was involved in the major air events of the day-including a number of people the 9/11 Commission did not speak to. We hear from Ben Sliney, the man who came to work that morning for his first day on the job as the Operations Chief of the FAA and who made the brilliant, unprecedented decision to ground every commercial plane in the sky and close U.S. airspace; the military commanders who decided to override protocol and send fighter jets to defend Washington without approval; the pilot of Delta Flight 19889, which was mistakenly identified as a fifth hijacking; and the sole FAA controller who stayed at his post in the Boston Center, which was reported to be under attack, and provided the military with almost all of the information it got about the whereabouts of hijacked planes. Based on highly detailed accounts from these interviews, as well as on the voluminous records of radio transmissions from the controllers, the hijacked planes, and many of the other planes that were in the air that day, Spencer fills in many holes in the story as it was reported by the 9/11 Commission. She also brings to pulse-quickening life the confusion, the horror, and the fierce determination and quick thinking of so many key players as they improvised their responses to a shocking new type of warfare. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Spencer...expertly elucidates the complexities and pitfalls of American aviation as it faced a staggering challenge. Publishers Weekly Starred Review
  • “Compelling…By bringing these events and unsung heroes to light, Spencer has done a great public service. Her book is hard to put down, and a grateful nation owes her a debt of gratitude for undertaking this project.”

    Wilmington News Journal

  • “Spencer shows how, with an American public stupefied by the unimaginable airline attacks on its homeland on 9/11, civil aviation and military circles joined forces quickly to fathom, manage, and defend against a then-unknown enemy….An impressively researched and compellingly written narrative of one of America’s worst catastrophes.”

    Library Journal

  • “Riveting…The transcripts provide the book with a sense of immediacy, as though the reader was in the cockpit or control tower, while the interviews offer important background and context…Spencer’s book is worth reading as a thoroughly researched, clearly written account that offers new insights into that fateful day that changed America forever.”

    BookPage

  • “Lynn Spencer has captured the essence of the terror of that day and the courage of the men and women who experienced first-hand the fallout of these horrific attacks and rose to answer the call in their nation’s hour of need.”

    Patrick Forrey, President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 2/17/2014

    " Overview of 9/11 from the perspective of the FAA and pilots. Well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed Glynn | 2/11/2014

    " Untold heros. Amazing read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya | 2/10/2014

    " Interesting. A stressful read. Makes the appalling actions of our government since that time all the more tragic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marlene | 2/4/2014

    " Interesting if you know a lot of flying. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Smith | 1/27/2014

    " Absolutely captivating....Could not stop reading this compelling true story of what was going on in the sky on 9/11. I read the whole thing one flight to the west coast. Highly recommended! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bev | 12/30/2013

    " The story of 9/11 as seen from the perspective of the pilots in the air, and air traffic controllers across the nation on that fateful day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cyndi | 12/4/2013

    " wow. although it's somewhat heavy with acronyms and military pilot talk, it's astounding to read what was happening behind the scenes on 9/11. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jena | 11/15/2013

    " A good story but too much technical information. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 9/15/2013

    " Interesting information about what happened in the skies during 911 to other pilots and military aircraft. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacob | 5/4/2013

    " This book is really great. It paints a very very very dramatic picture about what took place on 9/11. This book is a little hard too follow. It has so many characters that is why I am not giving it a 5. This book is geared for people probably 12 and up. any way I recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 1/18/2013

    " What a great account of 9-11. Instead of focusing on what happened on the ground, Ms. Spencer gives the account of the day from the perspective of pilots and controllers (both military and civilian). An excellent read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl | 11/27/2012

    " An account of the events of 9/11 as seen through the pilots/flight industry & military, written by a pilot and native of Arlington, VA. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shana Kennedy | 7/31/2012

    " Definitely a compelling read, though I'm now inclined to go find the 9/11 report to get a little fuller picture of what was happening on the ground and in the planes. (This book deals entirely with the experience of air traffic controllers) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginny | 7/25/2011

    " Interesting read re: What was going on in the FAA, NORAD and other governmental/air traffic control on 9/11/2001. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 4/5/2011

    " This is an amazing perspective from a pilot that has not been told in all the reports up til this book was released. Riveting and true. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 ej cullen | 1/17/2011

    " How the aviation industry/military handled the 9/11 crisis. Stories of many commercial pilots and military pilots on that fateful day, and how they reacted to the unprecedented situation. Confusion reigns. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathryn | 4/15/2010

    " Gripping. A unique view of what happened on 9/11. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 3/30/2010

    " Interesting book from a pilot's point of view of what was going on during the 9/11 attacks. I'm hoping our military is better coordinated now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 1/5/2010

    " A chilling and poignant tale of the events of 9/11, as told from the perspective of the air traffic controllers, pilots, and FAA leadership. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/30/2009

    " Gives you a good sense of what panic the country was going through on 9/11. I didn't realize what a monumental task it was to clear the skies in the U.S. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bethany | 12/8/2009

    " Couldn't put it down! It was unique perspective on the morning of 9/11 as experienced by pilots, air traffic control, and the military. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine Grant | 7/21/2008

    " Really a fascinating book. You can't put it down. "

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About the Author

Lynn Spencer is a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines as well as a certified flight instructor. She has been a commercial pilot for eleven years and has held the coveted position of Flight Training Instructor for Continental Airlines. She graduated from Duke University with honors before following her dream to become a pilot, and she completed her high-altitude training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

About the Narrator

Joyce Bean is an accomplished audiobook narrator and director. In addition to having won eight AudioFile Earphones Awards, she has been nominated multiple times for the prestigious Audie Award. Equally adept at narrating fiction and nonfiction, and she also narrates audiobooks under the name Jane Brown.