Review: Ohio

This is a August 2018 release given to me at Book Expo America. It is a nonfiction, so not really my usual fair. That being said -spoilers ahead.

Title: Ohio

Author: Stephen Markley


People experience events differently. The same moment from two different perspectives can sound worlds apart, so I didn’t come into this book thinking Markley could capture my pre-/post-September 11th mind set. At 10 when they fell, I was younger than the main characters, and my home town is decidedly more liberal.

That being said – we saw a number of high school seniors sign up to join the army in the following summer. Sure, the scholarships would’ve tempted some regardless, but fear had taken root in remarkably predictable ways. However, I was privileged. My parents ensured we saw all the rest of the world did to help. I grew up in a post-9/11 world, but I also grew up in one where the Masai sent cows to help. Ireland and Israel had a day of mourning in honor of the tragedy. The human chain formed around the Brussels World Trade Center, vigils throughout Europe and the Middle East, condolences in flowers and cards from China, Le Monde’s proclamation: Nous sommes tous Américains. We are all Americans.

I’m not sure knowing any of that made the world feel as safe as it had seemed before 9/11, but the isolationism which jumped from the pages of Markley’s book conflicted with the globalism I’d experienced. Of course, both occurred. Two different perspectives which are only two in billions who experienced 9/11 either as citizens of the United States or citizens of the world.

Poignant and heartbreaking – Markley’s Ohio should not be taken lightly. If you’re looking to feel good after finishing a book, this isn’t it. If you want to feel less alone about your experience – this still might not be the book for you.

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