GRAND ILLUSION: THE UNTOLD STORY OF RUDY GIULIANI AND 9/11 by Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins (HarperCollins), 390 pages, $33.50 cloth. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Anniversaries of traumatic events are times for reflection and reappraisal. This week marks five years since suicide terrorists crashed four planes in the U.S.
Out of the smoke and death at ground zero, one deeply flawed man - Rudy Giuliani, then mayor of New York - climbed so high he might be able to run for president.
Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins dissect and and destroy the myth that the former mayor is a caring, far-thinking expert on terrorism
This is an ugly tale of a man who garnered accolades and multi-million- dollar consulting contracts based on an image, developed in one day, that trumped years of neglect, incompetence, cronyism and stupidity.
Giuliani foolishly decided to build his Office of Emergency Management in the World Trade Center. In other words, a bunker for the mayor to keep government running in the middle of a catastrophe was built on a site already targeted by terrorists in 1993.
When the towers went down, so did his command centre. Giuliani was famously photographed wandering around covered in ash because his office of operations had been destroyed.
Communication in the burning towers between emergency responders was almost non-existent, because the city, after a rigged tendering process, bought defective, untested radios. Many firefighters died because they didn't hear evacuation orders or know that one tower had collapsed.
A big flaw in Grand Illusion is that it is written almost in the style of a legal indictment. And as most journalists know, court papers, while containing interesting facts, can be very dry and boring.
Unfortunately, the message of this important book is smothered under the mountains of facts its authors have unearthed.
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