February 24, 2008

Dunbar, David and Brad Reagan, eds. Debunking 9/11 myths: Why conspiracy theories can't stand up to the facts. New York: Hearst, 2006. 170pp.

This is one of those books that I picked up a the train station cheap remaindered books kiosk. I do that every once in a while, find a quick read for a long train ride. And this short book is certainly a short and involving read. It's an expansion of a long article in Popular Mechanics a few years ago which took at a bunch of different 9/11 conspiracy theories,, looked at the facts from a science and engineering perspective and decided if the theory had any real basis. Guess what? None of them did.

This may be a quick read, but it's still a very important one. There's a lot of stupid stuff on the Web, a lot of it pet theories about what really happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. This book will, I hope, start the process of setting at least some of them straight.

What are some of the myths that are debunked? That not enough damage was caused to the buildings to cause them to collapse. That puffs of dust visible while the buildings were collapsing were the results of planned explosions. That nearby seismographs detected those planned explosions. That WTC 7's collapse was also the result of a controlled demolition. That the Pentagon's blast-proof windows could not have survived a real crash. That Flight 93 was shot down by jet fighters. Well, the list goes on.

And on that topic, in my opinion, are the myths effectively debunked? They certainly are. Some of them are so loopy that it's hard to even believe that some people out there give them any credence at all.

I would recommend this book without hesitation for all public, school and academic libraries.

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