The Legacy of 9/11: A Reading List book covers

A few years ago my sister-in-law, who teaches fifth grade in the New York public schools, told me that her students often get 9/11 mixed up with Vietnam. Aside from making me feel ancient—the attacks on the Twin Towers, I realized, took place nearly a decade before these students were even born!—her anecdote made me wonder about the legacy of something that, until Trump’s election and our country’s subsequent transformation into an Orwellian dystopia, seemed sure to remain the foremost U.S. historical event of my lifetime. So what exactly is that legacy?

Adam Wilson headshotAs recent events have made clear, a big part of it is the War in Afghanistan, the repercussions of which will continue to be felt for a long time to come. But the attacks on the Twin Towers had other less visible effects as well. In my novel, Sensation Machines, I attempted to explore the lasting ways in which 9/11 shaped the cultural attitudes of an entire generation of Americans. While the books below are not necessarily the most well-known texts on the subject, I found each to be an indispensable resource for considering this question.

—Adam Wilson, author of Sensation Machines