History and September 11th

Edited by Joanne Meyerowitz
Book Cover

PB: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-203-4
Publication: Jul 03

HC: $76.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-202-7
Publication: Jul 03

288 pages
6 x 9
2 maps 19 halftones

Locating the historical roots of the September 11th attacks

Read the Introduction (PDF).


The contributors to this landmark collection set the attacks on the United States in historical perspective. They reject the simplistic notion of an age-old "clash of civilizations" and instead examine the particular histories of American nationalism, anti-Americanism, U.S. foreign policy, and Islamic fundamentalism among other topics. With renewed attention to Americans' sense of national identity, they focus on the United States in relation to the rest of the world. A collection of recent and historical documents—speeches, articles, and book excerpts—supplement the essays. Taken together, the essays and sources in this volume comment on the dangers of seeing the events of September 11 as splitting the nation's history into "before" and "after." They argue eloquently that no useful understanding of the present is possible without an unobstructed view of the past.


"This is a splendid collection of essays that helps us make sense of the background and the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Those attacks have resulted in deeper U.S. involvement in the Middle East, but, unfortunately, the nation and the rest of the world have not necessarily come closer together. There is no better way to understand how such a situation has come about than to turn to these thoughtful, clearly written essays by some of the leading historians today. Every piece is excellent without exception."
Akira Iriye, Professor of History, Harvard University, and author of Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World

"This book represents an impressive, important, and timely mobilization of historians. They usefully address the national and international historical meanings the terrible events of 9/11 and the challenges its aftermath poses for American domestic and foreign policies. These essays and documents provide essential material for discussion, whether in the classroom or in the larger public realm."
Tom Bender, Professor of History, New York University, and editor of Rethinking American History in a Global Age

"This collection of essays, complete with primary sources, by noted scholars in the fields of terrorism, the Middle East, fundamentalist religious movements, anti-Americanism and foreign relations, attempts to provide a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the factors leading up to the terror attacks on September 11."
Publishers Weekly

"The collection of essays serves as an antidote to the amnesia fostered by a passive media and political administrations to provide us with complex multiperspectival understanding of our world and an imperative to see our local and national milieu in a broader global context. ...(it) is well organized, with a useful overview by (editor) Meyerowitz."
The Indiana Magazine of History

Table of Contents

Introduction – Joanne Meyerowtiz
1. In the Wake of September 11: The Clash of What? – Michael H. Hunt
2. Damming Afghanistan: Modernization in a Buffer State – Nick Cullather
3. A Short History of Anti-Americanism and Terrorism: The Turkish Case – Nur Bilge Criss
4. Notes on the CIA's Secret War in Afghanistan – John Prados
5. Rescuing Women and Children – Emily S. Rosenberg
6. A Cultural History of the War without End – Melani McAlister
7. The September 11, 2001, Oral History Narrative and Memory Project:
8. A First Report – Mary Marshall Clark
9. "Anti-Americanism" in the Arab World: An Interpretation of a Brief History – Ussama Makdisi
10. History in the Fundamentalist Imagination – R. Scott Appleby
11. Conjuring with Islam, II – Bruce B. Lawrence
12. 9/11, the Great Game, and the Vision Thing: The Need for (and Elements of) a More Comprehensive Bush Doctrine – Bruce R. Kuniholm
Afterword: The Anteroom of War – Marilyn Blatt Young

Primary Source Documents
Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations?, 1993
The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919
Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, 1960
President Jimmy Carter, State of the Union Address, January 21, 1980
Brian Whitaker, The Definition of Terrorism, May 7, 2001
President George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 20, 2001
Osama bin Laden, Speech on September 11 Attacks, October 7, 2001
Pew Global Attitudes Project, Opinion Leaders on America, December 19, 2001
Laura Bush, Radio Address on Women in Afghanistan, November 17, 2001
President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January, 29, 2002
Campaign against Sanction with Iraq
Tom Masiello, On September 11th, February 2, 2002

About the Author(s)

Joanne Meyerowitz is Professor of History at Indiana University and editor of The Journal of American History.


In the Series

  • Critical Perspectives on the Past edited by Susan Porter Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig

    Critical Perspectives on the Past, edited by Susan Porter Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig, is concerned with the traditional and nontraditional ways in which historical ideas are formed. In its attentiveness to issues of race, class, and gender and to the role of human agency in shaping events, the series is as critical of traditional historical method as content. Emphasizing that history is itself an interpretation of material events, the series demonstrates that the historian's choices of subject, narrative technique, and documentation are politically as well as intellectually constructed.