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Page to Stage Presents "Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11"

September 5, 2019 by Maddie Hjulstrom
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The Nantucket Book Foundation is always looking for ways to be more of a year-round presence on the island, for both the school population as well as the community. Besides the Festival in June, and at least two author appearances in the schools throughout the academic year (typically in the fall and the spring), we seek to host events with authors in the off-season who will both bring an audience to Nantucket and provide local residents a good book to read and some food for thought. We forged a collaboration with the Dreamland Theater’s “Page to Stage” series a couple of years ago to create a forum for these authors, and so far we’ve been able to produce events with Benjamin Alire Saenz and Laurie Halse Anderson (both YA authors who also have a strong appeal to adult audiences).

With that in mind, we are pleased to present Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11, as the featured author at our Page to Stage event at the Dreamland Theater on October 22 at 5:30 PM. While here, Mitch has also agreed to speak with our high school students about his book.

The idea of inviting Mitchell Zuckoff grew out of a conversation about the fact that a generation of school students has grown up in the shadow of 9/11. Today’s high school seniors were born in 2001. Our children don’t know what it’s like to live in a world before the tragic events that changed everything that day; adults struggle with the aftermath of those events and the changes that have impacted every part of our lives.

We hope to use this event as a way to reflect back on 9/11 for those of us who lived through it, and open up a discussion with those that came after. The book, and Mitchell Zuckoff's appearance here on Nantucket, promise to be not only educational to both generations about one of the watershed moments in modern history, but an amazing community event focusing on where we were, how we got here, and where we are going.

When we approached Mitch about including a visit to the high school as part of his time here on Nantucket, he said “I would love to.” When asked why he feels it is important to talk with students about 9/11, he replied:

“An entire generation has no independent memories of 9/11, yet these young Americans live in a world utterly shaped by the terrorist attacks that occurred that day. Consider this: a typical high school senior is old enough to enlist to fight in a war that began as a result of the attacks of September 11, 2001, yet most feel no more personal connection to those events than a child of the 1960s did to Pearl Harbor. In Fall and Rise, I’ve chosen to tell the story largely through the experiences of individuals directly affected by (or responsible for) the hijackings and their aftermath, because I’m certain that is the best way to help connect readers viscerally and emotionally and personally to 9/11. As I write in the Introduction: ‘With time, news becomes history. And history, it’s been said, is what happened to other people.’ My hope is to delay the descent of 9/11 into the well of history by helping to renew fading memories and by making the next best thing for younger readers. The history of 9/11 is still happening to them, and they should know it."

Tickets for the Page to Stage event with Mitchell Zuckoff are $25 each and available here. A portion of the proceeds supports the year-round work of the Nantucket Book Foundation. Funding for this event was provided by the Community Foundation for Nantucket Fund.

From the HarperCollins website:

The New York Times bestselling author of 13 Hours and Lost in Shangri-La delivers his most compelling and vital work yet—a spellbinding, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting narrative, years in the making, that weaves together myriad stories to create the definitive portrait of 9/11.

In the days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, then-Boston Globe journalist Mitchell Zuckoff led a team that reported and wrote the lead news stories and a series of pieces about 9/11 victims and their families. It was the beginning of an obsession with that momentous day, and a commitment to tell its complete true story.

Fall and Rise is a 9/11 book like no other. Based on years of meticulous reporting, it gives voice as never before to both the lost and the saved. Zuckoff masterfully braids the stories of what happened in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, into a mesmerizing account that details the minute-by-minute experiences of those whose lives were forever altered by that day.

Zuckoff puts us in the center of events with numerous men and women caught up in the terrible attacks—beside a young, out-of-work actor stuck in an elevator in the North Tower of the World Trade Center; among the heroes aboard United Airlines Flight 93; inside the badly damaged Pentagon with a veteran trapped in the inferno; accompanying the first firefighters on the scene in rural Shanksville; in the company of workers at offices in the World Trade Center; among a team of New York firefighters racing against time to save an injured woman and themselves; and alongside families flying to see loved ones across the country who suddenly face terrorists bent on murder.

Fall and Rise opens new avenues of understanding for anyone who thinks they know the story of that tragic day, and illuminates as never before the extraordinary ordinary people from all walks of life caught up in tragic circumstances they could neither understand nor control.

Destined to become a classic, Fall and Rise is a tribute to the dead and the living, and a testament to the power of the human spirit to triumph even in the darkest hour.