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In the Line of DutyReview - In the Line of Duty
A Tribute to New York's Finest and Bravest
by Bernard B. Kerik and Thomas Von Essen (forewords)
Regan Books, 2002
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Sep 24th 2002 (Volume 6, Issue 39)

In The Line of Duty is a softcover collection of photographs taken on and after September 11, 2001 in New York City, along with a number of short quotations from both ancient and modern sources on the nature of heroism in 123 pages, together with a list of the members of the New York City Police and Fire Departments who lost their lives on that day.  The publisher’s profits will go to the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund. 

Many of the images will be familiar: the twin towers on fire, the city covered in smoke, and the remains of the collapsed buildings, and walls covered with pictures of the missing. These pictures still carry great emotional weight, and seeing the police and firefighters on the scene and at memorials reminds us of their devotion to their jobs and the sacrifices so many made.  Other images are less well-known, but also convey the extraordinary circumstances and the powerful characters of those who devote themselves to public service. 

While In The Line of Duty is well-produced with a strong selection of photographs, it does not tell the stories of any particular individuals.  In the last year there have been many television programs and newspaper articles about the notable actions of police and firefighters; I was especially struck by the documentary by Gedeon and Jules Naudet on CBS on 9/11, that showed the way members of a firehouse worked together as a group.  Since it does not tell such stories with words, this book misses a vital aspect of the heroism of those who put their lives in danger to save others. 

Nevertheless, these images collected in this book are remarkable, and looking at them serves as a reminder not just of the shock and horror we experienced, but of how the terrible events of September 11 reminded us of what we hold to be most important in our lives, and the virtues of public service. 

 

© 2002 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the general public.


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