A History of Our Time: Readings on Postwar America

By William H. Chafe; Harvard Sitkoff et al. | Go to book overview

In the Ruins of the Future:
Reflections on Terror and
Loss in the Shadow of
September (2001)

Don DeLillo

On the morning of September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked two civilian airliners and crashed first one, then the other, into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Another plane slammed into the Pentagon. A fourth exploded in a Pennsylvania field, brought down, seemingly, by brave passengers who refused to let it become another weapon of destruction.

In the days and weeks that followed, America grieved. These are novelist Don DeLillo’s “reflections on terror and loss in the shadow of September.”


1

In the past decade the surge of capital markets has dominated discourse and shaped global consciousness. Multinational corporations have come to seem more vital and influential than governments. The dramatic climb of the Dow and the speed of the Internet summoned us all to live permanently in the future, in the utopian glow of cybercapital, because there is no memory there and this is where markets are uncontrolled and investment potential has no limit.

All this changed on September 11. Today, again, the world narrative belongs to terrorists. But the primary target of the men who attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center was not the global

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