Gear: Last Man Down


Last Man Down

Category: Book Reviews
Subcategory: Memoirs
Price: $7.99 List (Paperback)
Average Rating:
(23 Votes)

From Publishers Weekly: When the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, Picciotto, an FDNY battalion commander, was inside it, on a stairwell between the sixth and seventh floors, along with a handful of rescue personnel and one "civilian." This outspoken account tells of that indelible day, and it will shake and inspire readers to the core. The book starts by listing the 343 firefighters who died from the attacks, setting an appropriately grave tone to what follows, which begins as the author heads to work at Engine Co. 76 and Ladder Co. 22 on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Then comes a call on the intercom, and soon he is racing down to the World Trade Center. Arriving, he dodges falling bodies, runs inside and upstairs with a battalion not his own. Early in the book, this straightforward accounting is intercut with flash-forwards to 9:59 a.m., when Picciotto, on the 35th floor of the north tower, experiences the collapse of the south tower not visually, but aurally and in his body ("the building was shaking like an earthquake... but it was the rumble that struck me still with fear. The sheer volume of it. The way it coursed right through me... like a thousand runaway trains speeding toward me"). Picciotto, writing with Paisner (coauthor of autobios by Montel Williams and George Pataki, among others), pulls no punches, naming those who hindered his work and those who helped, taking numerous swipes at what he sees as a fire department bureaucracy whose money pinching puts firefighters at risk. This mouthiness can grate, but it certainly gives the flavor of a man and a department whose heroism became clear to all that day. It's Picciotto and his comrades' courage and willingness to sacrifice that every reader will remember, and honor, upon closing this gritty, heartfelt remembrance of a day of infamy and profound humanity. Publisher's comments: On September 11, 2001, FDNY Battalion Chief Richard "Pitch" Picciotto answered the call heard around the world. In minutes he was at Ground Zero of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center began to burn-and then to buckle. A veteran of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Picciotto was eerily familiar with the inside of the North Tower. And it was there that he concentrated his rescue efforts. It was in its smoky stairwells where he heard and felt the South Tower collapse. Where he made the call for firemen and rescue workers to evacuate, while he stayed behind with a skeleton team of men to help evacuate a group of disabled and infirm civilians. And it was in the rubble of the North Tower where Picciotto found himself buried-for more than four hours after the building's collapse. This is the harrowing true story of a true American hero, a man who thought nothing of himself-and gave nearly everything for others during one of New York City's-and the country's-darkest hours.

Member Reviews

  • Utchat_4_max30
    Gwyd, Fri, 28 Dec 2007 00:53:49 UTC.
    1st review

    I haven't actually read the book yet (!) but I heard the man speak at Public Safety Day at Northwest Plaza Mall in St. Louis County in 2004, and his account made my hair curl. He was doing a sweep of each floor as they went down, to check for stragglers, and a stockbroker was sitting at his computer typing a report...this is after the other tower fell and shook the one they were in!!! He said, "Sir, we need to evacuate!" The guy held his palm out in a "talk to the hand" gesture as if to indicate that he was doing something important. "Pitch" grabbed him, ripping his shirt, tossed him at one of the crew, and said "if he won't walk down the stairs, THROW him down!" He told us that he didn't know if the guy survived or not, but hopes that the fellow shows up at one of his talks and says "you owe me a new shirt!"

    This is an incredible story, and I'm sure the book has lots of details he didn't have time for in a 45-minute speech, so I encourage everyone here to give it a look.

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    TAZZMEDIC, Fri, 28 Dec 2007 04:35:29 UTC.

    any book that talks about 911 is a great there is not any book that i have read about 911 that was bad

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    CorpsmanUP, Sun, 20 Jan 2008 20:28:33 UTC.

    Beautifully written book; a must read!

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    Ravenfirefighter, Sat, 26 Jan 2008 02:38:17 UTC.

    Thanks Gwyd
    I was so impressed with your synopsis that I had to ordered the book myself!

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    pmvfr1154, Thu, 12 Jun 2008 18:25:28 UTC.

    Great book every firefighter should read it!

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    Ltpitcher, Thu, 19 Jun 2008 16:19:22 UTC.

    A must read...

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    FIRE25MAN, Fri, 25 Jul 2008 07:09:55 UTC.

    great book to read

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    Account Removed, Thu, 14 Aug 2008 20:44:50 UTC.

    Best book... so detailed and keeps you so hooked! Read it if ya havent.

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    sandy2501, Fri, 22 Aug 2008 18:31:53 UTC.

    It was a hard read for me. it was oK

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    jmkilgore52, Sat, 23 Aug 2008 13:32:01 UTC.

    looking forward to reading. sounds great

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    FIRECOP2, Thu, 28 Aug 2008 19:40:37 UTC.

    Very well written book, I had a hard time putting it down. I am sure I will read it again too!

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    fireman7813, Fri, 03 Oct 2008 09:04:01 UTC.


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    becca22, Wed, 22 Oct 2008 19:51:14 UTC.

    I read this book once and I am looking forward to reading it again. A must read. Very touching. I loved it.

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    Welch545, Thu, 13 Nov 2008 07:32:34 UTC.

    this was a very moving book, I was glued to this book for 3days

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  • U_s_forest_crew_max30
    Headset, Thu, 13 Nov 2008 15:23:30 UTC.

    This was such a GREAT BOOK. I was absolutely glued to it, and just did not want to put it down. It really makes one think, how we are susceptable to acts like this...... yes, even in the U.S. It is a definate read for all. Lest we never forget

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    Kmurley, Tue, 09 Dec 2008 01:31:42 UTC.

    I picked up this book after 9/11 just like anyone else. I found real hard to put down. I would recomend it to anyone.

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    Account Removed, Tue, 20 Jan 2009 08:34:30 UTC.

    Very good book.

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    ffemt053, Thu, 05 Feb 2009 22:00:22 UTC.

    one of those books that you dont want to set it down, it keeps getting better and better all the way through.

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    FF43, Fri, 13 Mar 2009 20:23:47 UTC.

    Really did not want to set the book down, I liked the material.

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    wsmith, Sun, 22 Mar 2009 15:05:09 UTC.

    Great book every firefighter should read it!

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    captmike1407, Wed, 25 Mar 2009 21:27:16 UTC.

    I have known the truck capt. (now a DC) with Josephine Harris for a long time. I had a hard time with some of the presentation.

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  • Me_max30
    Farva, Mon, 21 Sep 2009 00:25:38 UTC.

    This was a great book. I coukdn't put it done. I wuld get chills at certain parts.

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    sunlight3456, Sun, 24 Jul 2011 19:36:43 UTC.

    great book.

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