Until the Fires Stopped Burning
By Charles B. Strozier
Until the Fires Stopped Burning
Based on the testimony of survivors, bystanders, spectators, and victim’s friends and families, Until the Fires Stopped Burning brings much-needed clarity to the conscious and unconscious meaning of 9/11 and its relationship to historical disaster, apocalyptic experience, unnatural death, and the psychological endurance of trauma. Strozier interprets and contextualizes the memories of witnesses and compares their encounter with 9/11 to the devastation of Hiroshima, Auschwitz, Katrina, and other events Kai Erikson has called a “new species of trouble” in the world. Organizing his study around “zones of sadness” in New York, Strozier powerfully evokes the multiple places in which his respondents confronted 9/11 while remaining sensitive to the personal, social, and cultural differences of these experiences. Most important, he distinguishes between 9/11 as an apocalyptic event (which he affirms it is not;rather, it is a monumental event), and 9/11 as an apocalyptic experience, which is crucial to understanding the act’s affect on American life and a still-evolving culture of fear in the world.
What the Critics Say
“This book offers a way of understanding—or taking measure, of coming to terms with—a thing that does not lend itself to any other kind of telling. That’s why it is special. It issues from a richly layered mind.”
Kai Erikson, author of A New Species of Trouble: Explorations in Disaster, Trauma, and Community
“Strozier’s intimate yet comprehensive, visceral, and intellectual dissection of 10 years of trauma, fear, and recovery is full of pain and mystery, radiance and strength.”
“Charles B. Strozier has crafted a unique and powerful blend of shattering personal narratives and thoughtful analysis. Anyone who wonders what 9/11 was like for those who experienced it up close will find Strozier’s work the necessary reference. No other author possesses his blend of psychological insight, cultural and historical perspective, and narrative fluency. The intimately personal and deeply historical mingle to produce a profound understanding of the human and cultural impact of trhe day America changed forever.”
James W. Jones, author of Blood That Cries Out from the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism.
“This is the only work on 9/11 to describe people’s experiences in depth while at the same time providing a broad sense of the human impact of the whole event.”
Robert Jay Lifton, author of Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima.
“Strozier has given us a whole, complex view of 9/11 in a way no other author has. He blends historical, clinical, cultural, and person perspectives in order to conceptualize how and why 9/11 changed American history. This is a book every American should read.”
Peter Balakian, author of Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir
“In the spirit of John Hersey’s Hiroshima and Elie Weisel’s Night but with the rigor of a scientist, historian, and psychotherapist, Strozier tells a gripping and honest tale. The mostly ordinary people of this book, who happened upon an extraordinary event, did not encounter ordinary, plain death. They saw instead an apocalyptic landscape of vast, collective suffering closer to the end of the world. Yet this book also offers a heartening apologue of healing and recovery among the fellowship of New Yorkers.”
Scott Atran, author of Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists
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