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9 of 1: University of Pittsburgh - Book Review
A new view on 9/11
By MEG DOWDELL
Staff Writer, October 16, 2003
Since September 11, 2001, the media has bombarded us with news concerning its
aftermath, including the "war on terror." But how many of us truly have time to
keep up with every event in world politics that is, or has been, affected by
terrorism? If only there were a way that all the dense facts could be compacted
into a tiny - say, 100-page - book, with cartoon-like illustrations and a
publication that resembles a comic book.
Well, look no further. Oliver Chin, author of "9 of 1: A Window to the World"
offers an interesting approach to an oversaturated topic. He has created a comic
book that lays out how each culture and nation has been affected by terrorism.
The content of the book goes beyond what type of relationship the United States
has with other nations to include information that Americans have either chosen
to forget or have suppressed deep in their consciousness, such as our history of
internal terrorism, with individuals such as Timothy Leary and Charles Manson.
This book is unique in its layout and subject matter. Its content is rich enough
that it could be used as a supplemental reading for a college-level world
politics course, yet short and direct enough to grab hold of the attention of a
young adult who is unfamiliar with current events. But the truly remarkable
trait of this book is the truths that it leads us to face and how we are allowed
to face them - with a sense of optimism and hope for positive change.
Using a comic-book format, Chin keenly utilizes a medium that best explains
cultural differences around the world. We are presented with facts alongside a
story of a group of high school students in a fictitious school given an
assignment to interview someone about how they have been affected personally and
politically by the events of September 11, 2001. By placing pictures of the
cultural distinctions alongside the text, the reader is more able to flow
through the book - we can see what is being talked about, rather than being
forced to imagine it.
"9 of 1" is atypical because it does not simply place facts without feeling.
Instead, it forces the reader to ponder over alternatives and ways of change by
asking questions such as "How hard is it to do the right thing?" and "Would the
outcome of another war be different?"
From a thorough introduction to the conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan to
American greed for oil and the repercussions it has caused to the culture of the
"glorified" suicide bombers and martyrs, "9 of 1" could help enrich the lives of
young adults struggling to grasp the concepts of what is going on in the world.
Recommended for those who are struggling to understand recent events in America
and the reasons they happened, politically, economically and culturally, "9 of
1" offers a perspective on these topics unlike any other media representation.