Title: Reluctant Hero: A 9/11 Survivor Speaks Out
Author: Michael Benfante
Year Published: 2011
Source: I picked up this book as an ARC at Book Expo America.
On September 11, 2011 Michael Benfante reported to his job as a manager at a telecommunications firm on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center. When the planes crashed into the building,Benfanteand his co-workers started working their way down the stairs.
When they reached the 68th floor Benfante and one of his co-workers encountered a woman in a wheelchair. There were female co-workers staying with her but it was impossible for them to carry her down 68 floors. Benfante and his co-worker carried the woman down to the bottom and out of the building.
Reluctant Hero: A 9/11 Survivor Speaks Out About That Unthinkable Day, What He's Learned, How He's Struggled, and What No One Should Ever Forget is Benfante’s account of not only what happened to him on that tragic day, but what happened to him in the ten years since September 11th, 2001.
Benfante became a celebrity for his actions on September 11th; he was showered with awards, feted on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and mentioned in a speech by the President of the United States. Almost one year to the day Benfante got married with the woman in the wheelchair as a guest at his wedding.
But while all this was going on, Benfante was grappling with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He refused to go get therapy and kept his feelings inside. He resorted to alcohol and other ways to keep his demons at bay.
This book is gripping. I really felt as if I was on the journey with
him down the stairs of the World Trade Center. I was shocked when I
realized that even after they got out of the building, he was almost
killed by the tower collapsing.
Benfante has written this book as a kind of catharsis to finally come to grips with what happened on that day. The book is touching and he is unflinching as he admits that he hasn’t always handled things very well.
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