In the aftermath of 9/11, Americans came together in a way not seen for a generation, pledging unity to rebuild after the horrific loss of the Twin Towers. People were signing up to go to war; rescue workers were laboring to clear rubble. But instead of becoming a rallying symbol in the fight against terrorism, Ground Zero has been plagued by intense conflict and controversy from the very start.Battle for Ground Zero goes behind the scenes of this fight to rebuild, revealing how grieving families, commercial interests, and politicking bureaucrats clashed at every step of the way, confounding progress and infuriating the public. Since the fall of 2001, author Elizabeth Greenspan has been documenting the drama—conducting interviews with neighborhood residents, architects, officials, rescue workers, and victims’ relatives, as well as key New York players like Mayor Bloomberg, uber-developer Larry Silverstein, and Governor Pataki. Here she provides a warts-and-all look at this pivotal decade—from the bitter feuding between city officials and victims’ families, to the endless controversy over the memorial design, to the fraught tenth anniversary, against a still-unfinished building. Publishing just as the memorial is finally completed, Battle for Ground Zero is an exhaustively researched reminder of how long it took to put a brave face on the horror of 9/11.
Elizabeth Greenspan is a writer and urban anthropologist currently teaching at Harvard University. She writes regularly about Ground Zero for The Atlantic online. Her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post and The Harvard Review, among other publications, and she has worked for the Associated Press Rome Bureau, and National Journal magazine. She has lectured about Ground Zero and 9/11 at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Brandeis College, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Temple University, and SUNY-Albany. She lives in Cambridge, MA. (Palgrave / Macmillan)