“The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation” by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon (Hill and Wang, 2006)

9/11 Reportstarstarstar

Naturally, this graphic adaptation has been getting a lot of flack from different people related to the September 11th attacks, because they still feel that comics are for a child’s enjoyment, to entertain and encourage a child’s humor, and they don’t know that in some ways they can do more than books in both informing through words and explaining through art.  Sometimes a lot more can be said through a picture with words.

I have to say though, after sloughing through this graphic adaptation of the 9/11 Report, I will not be reading that long and important source any time soon.  The graphic novel is heavy and complicated enough to get through.  But if one wishes to get the complete story of not just exactly what happened on September 11th, 2001, but all the events leading up to it with the terrorists and the state of our foreign policy with the Middle East, then pick up this graphic novel and take it all in . . . it’s all there.

Apart from the introduction from two of the commissioners of the 9/11 Report, the graphic adaptation begins with a four-way split streamline of the four planes, when they took off and under what circumstances, what happened on the planes with the hijackers, and what the eventual resulting attack was.  What makes this quite fascinating is that by charting them all together one can see the initial plan of having all the hijackers carry out their plans at the same time, but due to different circumstances and delays this was not the case.

In the next chapter, the authors go into detail on how the FAA and different government bodies could have and should have done things differently according to all their previous regulations.  It does prove that had everyone been doing what they should have, some of those planes may not have hit those targets, or at least something else and less devastating might have happened.

The rest of the book is spent going into the history of the circumstances that led up to the hijackers boarding the planes.  It’s heavy reading, but the pictures make it a lot clearer and easier to understand.  One gets a full picture on everyone and what they were doing, and how many different people and places were involved.  It’s actually quite surprising.

The book (as I’m sure the 9/11 Report does also) is clear in pointing out that while the Bush administration was certainly to blame in some cases, the previous Clinton administration was very much also, and even had everything been working smoothly, the attacks may still have not been prevented.  One can say they would’ve never happened had Clinton carried out the assassination of Usama Bin Laden, as he’d planned in the late 90s; but one can also say had Bush focused on terrorism in the Middle East when he came into office, as all his advisors were telling him (specifically Richard Clarke), then again September 11th may never have happened.

While I’m sure the graphic adaptation covers nowhere near the same ground as the actual report, it nevertheless serves its own unique purpose in making everything more succinct and clearer and easier to understand as a whole.  It’s the perfect book to keep in one’s library so that one day in the future one can pick it up again, read it, and understand exactly what happened and more importantly why on September 11th, 2001.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on August 16th, 2006 ©Alex C. Telander.