Each chapter provides thorough commentary and a deep analysis of each primary source document, often reproduced in its entirety. Chapters provide a summary overview, outline the defining moment, and include author biography, document analysis, and essential themes.
Defining Documents in American History: The Legacy of 9/11, offers in-depth analysis of forty-four documents. Readers will find speeches, treaties, government reports, correspondence, transcripts, sermons, essays, minutes, and book excerpts related to the lead up and aftermath of one of the most devastating attacks on U.S. soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The specter of radicalized individuals, groups, or nations committed to terrorizing the United States and other Western societies has become part of the post- 9/11 world.
The material is organized into four groups:
- Historic Background which begins with a 1990s study of Saudi Arabia that offers an American perspective on the alliance between the House of Saud and Wahhabism and ends with a speech by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a cleric and leader of the Iranian Revolution, characterizing the United States as "The Great Satan;"
- Growing Conflict and 9/11 traces the events that led up to 9/11, including Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a meeting between Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein; the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York; Osama bin Laden's declaration of jihad against the U.S.; the bombing of the USS Cole; and the release of the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004;
- War-Its Justifications and Problems tackles such significant documents as Colin Powell's testimony before the UN Security Council related to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; the unmasking of Valerie Plame in an article by Robert Novak published in the Washington Post; the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal; and
- The Post-9/11 World reviews the documents that portray the state of affairs throughout the world following the attacks, including the Manning-Lamo chat logs; Barack Obama's remarks on the assassination of Osama bin Laden; remarks to the U.N given by Abdullah II, Hassan Rouhani, and Benjamin Netanyahu; a report on the use of chemical weapons in Damascus; and concludes with Donald Trump's attempts to impose what some refere to as a "Muslim ban."
The Legacy of 9/11 features forty-four documents that span over a century, from the D'Arcy Oil Concession in 1901, the Carter of the Arab League in 1945, activist Sayyid Qutb's thoughts on jihad published following his execution in Egypt in 1966, Osama bin Laden's Declaration of Jihad against the U.S. in 1996, the Proclamation of the Caliphate in 2014, and Donald Trump's executive orders, perceived by some as a way to prevent Muslims from entering the U.S., in 2017.
Each document is supported by a critical essay, written by historians and teachers, that includes a Summary Overview, Defining Moment, Author Biography, Document Themes and Analysis. An important feature of each essay is a close reading and analysis of the primary source that develops broader themes, such as the author's rhetorical purpose, social or class position, point of view, and other relevant issues. In addition, essays are organized by sections, listed above, for a greater sense of context.
Each section begins with a brief introduction that defines questions and problems underlying the subjects addressed in the historical documents. Each essay also includes a Bibliography and Additional Reading section for further research.
- Time Line of 9/11 provides details of the events leading up to the attack, the sequence of events on the day of the attack, and the events through the rest of September.
- Web Resources is an annotated list of websites that offer valuable supplemental resources.
- Bibliography lists helpful articles and books for further study.