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City of Dust by Anthony DePalma

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3. Significant chaos

As the air began to clear over Lower Manhattan that first morning, and the heaviest dust from the choking plumes started to lift, weak September sunlight revealed the terrorists’ shocking achievement: a ten-story pile of twisted steel and blasted concrete festering like a tumor on the heart of America’s most critical financial district. Hopelessly entangled and incredibly complex, it was like nothing that had even been seen outside of a war zone. This is the oldest part of the city, and four centuries of commerce and growth had been wiped out—right down to the primordial bedrock. It is difficult to imagine any municipal government being in a position to take charge in such a chaotic moment. History has shown time and again ...

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