Introduction to the historical background --
There had been no criticism about the American Ground. Beginning
in June 2002, the promotional hype from Atlanthic Monthly and Farrar,
Straus and Giroux landed sparkling praise for William Langewiesche's
Ground Zero tale in book reviews and press reports. The public controversy,
that involved questioning Langewiesche's factual accuracy, first
began when the October 24 issue of New York Observer hit
newsstands on Oct. 16, 2002. The Observer writer, Joe Hagan,
led the first wave of, what became the ongoing press reactions regarding
our document --WTC Living History Project Group Response, Part I,
II, III--that noted 56 corrective points about William Langewiesche's
magazine version of American Ground.
Hagan's article broke the story about
both the WTC Living History Project's existence and the content
of our study that had been sent to both Atlantic Monthly
and Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Slate writer, Timothy
Noah, quickly weighed in the next day (Oct. 17, 2002) and New
York Post writer Bob McManus roared back the next day (Oct.
18, 2002) both with immediate lashes of criticism against our,
well, criticism of Langewiesche. We have discovered, however,
since that time that pertinent disclosures, such as the fact that
Cullen Murphy was a regular writer for Slate (1996-1999)
as well as being the Atlantic Monthly's managing editor,
should have been made public by Noah. How could Noah confidently
and accurately fact-check our fact-checking within 24 hours or
less seems? Just on the face of it, such an impulsive and protective
reaction would seem more based on blind faith and loyalty to Murphy,
than any rigorous journalist practices done by Noah.
We have added numbers (Dec. 9, 2003)
to each point below. This numbering system should help readers
to address Noah's specific charge that he could only "glean"
"precisely six" legitimate"errors" in Langewiesche's
book after "factoring out rants, misreading and disagreements
of interpretation." See if your count matches Noah's count
of only six errors. Read Part I, II, III below. You can always
let Noah know if you think his count is, as he would say, "utterly
Click here for Noah's article from Slate. Many more
salient facts from diligent research can be found presently on
the rest of the Web site and more is forthcoming in our Website
redesign (tentatively scheduled for January 2004). Write
us with your comments.
Authors: Rhonda Roland Shearer, Director; Deputy Assistant Chief
- Ronald R. Spadafora, FDNY ; Nick Carcich, Construction; Captain
- Mike Banker, FDNY; Peter L. Gorman, President of Uniform Fire
Officers Association; John Dunne, Captain's Representative Uniform
Fire Officers Association; Bobbie Gray, Locals 14 and 15 (Operating
Engineers) et al. See link
for full list of committee.
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.