"the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center collapsed"
The South World Trade Centre Tower is hit by Flight 175
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe South World Trade Centre Tower is hit by Flight 175 - Credit: TheMachineStops

The attack on the World Trade Center in New York occurred on 11th September 2001, and it remains the defining act of terrorism of the 21st century. 9/11, as the event has come to be known, was a series of coordinated suicide attacks using hijacked airliners directed at the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and either the Capitol or the White House (the fourth plane, memorialised in the film United 93, crashed into a Pennsylvanian field following passenger action). The attacks were carried out by the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda. A large number of conspiracy theories have since arisen.

Nearly 3,000 people died, along with the 19 plane hijackers, and more than 6,000 were injured; the dead and injured included firefighters and rescue workers. Many people fell or leapt from the burning towers, and the so-called ‘falling men’ have become some of the most iconic and disturbing images of our time.

9/11 was watched live around the world, underlining the enormous power that the media has today, and giving rise to the notion that modern-day terrorism must go hand-in-hand with widespread media dissemination.

The remains of the South Tower after the attacks
Public DomainThe remains of the South Tower after the attacks - Credit: Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres

A large number of books, documentaries and articles have appeared about 9/11, including:


The Falling Man – Tom Junod (article published in Esquire magazine)

9/11 Documentaries and Videos website

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer

Falling Man – Don DeLillo

Windows on the World – Frederic Beigbeder

Netherland – Joseph O’Neill

United 93 – film directed by Paul Greengrass

In the Shadow of No Towers – Art Spiegelmann

World Trade Center – film directed by Oliver Stone