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The Book Shelf
by award winning journalist
Gary M Pomerantz

book jacket
Hardcover, 304 pages,
 September 4, 2001, Crown Pub.
IBSN: 0609606336 
List Price:  $24.00
Price may vary at Amazon.com


Reading Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds brought back memories of my son's fatal crash in the same type of aircraft.  As the mother of Dann Carlsen, Captain of Comair Flight 3272 which went down in January 1997, I wanted to compare the circumstances of ASA Flight 529 to my son's flight.  I have often wondered what transpired and what could have been done to avoid such a tragedy.  This book not only helped me to understand the types of problems the aircraft had, but also answered some of my questions as to why and how the crash occurred. 

I believe that Captain.Gannaway did not have time to think about what was about to happen.  He simply did what he was trained to do -- bring down the aircraft as best he could, while keeping the safety of his passengers in mind.  Indeed, Captain Gannaway performed a great feat.  As a result, 19 of the 26 passengers survived.

At NADA/F's annual meeting in September, 2001,  it was my privilege to present NADA/F's first "Triumph Award" to Captain Gannaway's wife in honor of his heroic and noble accomplishment. The ASA 529 Triumph Award honors an ordinary person who performed an extraordinary feat, and/or has made a difference for aviation safety and security.
------- Arlene Miasel, NADA/F Board Liaison - ComAir, Delta Commuter 3272

From the publisher:

"In August 1995, twenty-six passengers and a crew of three board a commuter plane in Atlanta headed for Gulfport, Mississippi.  Shortly after takeoff they hear an explosion and looking out the windows on the left side, see a mangled engine lodged against the wing.  From that moment, nine minutes and twenty seconds elapse until the crippled plane crashes in a west Georgia hayfield --- nine minutes and twenty seconds in which Gary Pomerantz takes readers deep into the hearts and minds of the people aboard, each of whom prepares in his or here own way for what may come. 

Ultimately, nineteen people survive both the crash and its devastating aftermath, all of them profoundly affected by what they have seen and, more important, what they have done to help themselves and others.

This is not so much a book about a plane crash as it is a psychologically illumination real-life drama about ordinary people and how they behave in extraordinary circumstances.  Each of us has wondered what we would do to survive a life-threatening situation:  Would I survive?  How would I conduct myself --- Would I act to save others in need or only myself?  How would I be affected by the experience?  Judging by what is revealed in Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds, the answers are surprisingly optimistic."

In telling the remarkable stories of these twenty-nine men and women, Gary Pomerantz has written one of the most compelling books in recent memory.  Open to any page and you'll immediately be drawn into the dramatic pull of the narrative.  But on a deeper level, Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds speaks as powerfully about our capacity to care for others as it does about the strength of our will to live.  This rich and rewarding book will linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."

About the Author...
"Gary M. Pomerantz served the past two years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at Emory University in Atlanta.  His first book, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, was named a 1996 Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.  He captured the Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing in 1999 and the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award for feature writing for his seven-part series in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the air crash that is the subject of this book.  He lives with his wife and three children near San Francisco.

From the book jacket....

"Words like shattering and riveting don't come close to capturing the impact of this fine book, the most powerful I've read in a very long time.  The experiences of its heroes---and there is no better way to describe the men and women who populate its pages---will move and haunt for a good long while."
--------Erik Larson, author of Isaac's Storm

"I loved Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds.  While reading it, there were times I became so fraught I thought I couldn't go on, but I simply could tear myself away.  Ultimately, this book is an ode to the beauty and dignity of the human spirit."
--------Dominick Dunne

"Gary Pomerantz ventures where lesser writers might fear to go.  Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds moves so surely through the story that the reader is left saddened but not horrified, and reminded of the essential humanity that can emerge in such moments of great drama." 
--------William Langewiesche, author of Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight

"What is it about the power of certain combinations of words to pull you in, to suck you in, so that you can't turn the pages fast enough and the outside world falls away?  Gary Pomerantz has written pages that leave you breathless;  you tear through them like a late passenger sprinting down an airport terminal.  When you pull up, you feel windblown, as if you've stood in front of a propeller plane revving up.."  --------Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock

"Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds has the power of myth and the immediacy of a next-door neighbor.  Gary Pomerantz has performed a breathtaking feat:  he has written a modern-day fable that's somehow about each of us, our desire to fly, and our willingness to soar again.  Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds will tap into your deepest dreams --- and ultimately inspire you to make sure they come true."  --------Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible

"There is an indescribable thrill while reading reporting like this.  Fact by fact, one precious detail after another, all gathered by a reporter using his feet, Gary Pomerantz gives us flight attendant, Robin Fech, seconds away from a crash, calling out, "brace position", right out of chapter one, page 23 of her manual.  In the flames, on the ground, she wanted to take a man's sneakers off so she could pull off his pants.  When she looked again, the sneakers were not there.  They had melted onto the soles of his feet.  This is how Gary Pomerantz reports his book and this is how chilling his facts make it."
--------Jimmy Breslin

"A deeply moving account of the extraordinary strengths that ordinary people can display when tragedy confronts them.  As emotionally powerful a book as you are likely ever to read." 
--------David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross

Additional Praise for Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds

"Pomerantz has reconstructed these final minutes with such skill and tenderness that the reader -- crying one moment, scarcely daring to breathe the next -- is right there on board asking, 'What would I have done, how would I have reacted?'  In his afterword, Pomerantz calls his book a work of journalism; if this is so, then the word needs drastic redefinition.  Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds is truer than much self-proclaimed literature, and -- in its exploration of our capacity for bravery and selfless action -- offers vital clues to human nature." -------The London Evening Standard

"A heart-in-your-throat story . . . Spellbinding." -------Kirkus (starred review)

"Pomerantz chooses to focus on the truest and most expressive details of the central players' hearts and minds.  His reporting doesn't disappoint.  Such fidelity is the source from which narrative nonfiction draws its power . . . Most significantly, with careful and sensitive reconstruction, he defeats destruction." -------The San Francisco Chronicle

"The crash itself is a relatively small part of this book.  It's the people who make this story breathtaking." -------The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Pomerantz has crafted an honest, distressing narrative.  He used the kind of detail that makes you clench your teeth tightly.  You feel the terror.  It takes will power to read it.  But it's worth it."
-------The Times of London

"Within just a few pages, Pomerantz establishes himself as the Balzac of turbo prop aircraft . . . I found myself shaking my head in admiration for his indefatigable research . . . He excels at riveting and securing his character portraits, making us understand and care about many of the people who went down with the plane . . . [A] very fine work of non-fiction." -------Newsday

"Relentless in its examination of questions, we have all considered, though few of us have been forced to answer for ourselves, it's a remarkable reporting job . . . It's a potent package."
-------The Rocky Mountain News

"All told, a great read." -------Forbes Magazine

"It's Pomerantz's sharp writing and reporting that make the book so riveting."
-------Publisher's Weekly

"The crash merely sets the stage for a much larger story of courage and serenity in a time of crisis, determination against overwhelming odds." -------Booklist

"This is a powerfully written and completely absorbing tale with a skillful pacing."
-------The Dallas Morning News

"Employing the all-but forgotten craft of dogged, careful, impeccable investigation and reportage, Gary Pomerantz has recreated in the kind of detail that is sure to captivate, a story that on one level is likely to remain a haunting reminder of the risks of ordinary life, and on another, to become a classic of its kind." -------Simon Winchester, author of "The Professor and the Madman"

NADA/F remarks by:  Arlene Miasel
Board Liaison - ComAir, Delta Commuter 3272
E-mail: myangeldann@aol.com
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