Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11

Joseph Pfeifer. 2021. Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11. New York: Portfolio Penguin Random House.
Book cover.The New York Times bestseller, Ordinary Heroes, is an unforgettable and intimate account of what Chief Pfeifer witnessed on 9/11. Through his eyes, we see the horror of the attack and the bravery of the firefighters who ran into the burning towers to save others. This gripping narrative takes us on a journey of courage, resilience, and leadership that turns traumatic memories into hope, a tribute to those who responded that day. The NYT book review says, “Pfeifer’s record of that day and its aftermath surely enters the canon as one of the necessary documents of 9/11. But it’s his inclusive sense of public service, one that values the heroism of those who do ordinary things in extraordinary times, that makes “Ordinary Heroes” a book for today.”



Public Health Preparedness: Case Studies in Policy and Management

Arnold M. Howitt, Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, and David W. Giles, eds. 2017. Public Health Preparedness: Case Studies in Policy and Management. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

Book cover. Containing 15 Harvard Kennedy School case studies on public health emergency preparedness and response, this book provides detailed accounts of a range of natural disasters, infectious diseases, and bio-terrorism. With chapters on Superstorm Sandy, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the 2001 anthrax attacks, and evacuations from Gulf Coast hurricanes, the book covers major areas in public health preparedness, portraying the varied and complex challenges the public health community faces when confronting disaster. 

Natural Disaster Management in the Asia-Pacific: Policy and Governance

Caroline Brassard, David W. Giles, and Arnold M. Howitt, eds. 2015. Natural Disaster Management in the Asia-Pacific: Policy and Governance. Tokyo: Springer Japan.

Book cover.This edited book brings together scholars and senior public officials having direct experience in dealing with or researching on recent major natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific. The chapters focus on disaster preparedness and management, including pre-event planning and mitigation; crisis leadership and emergency response; and disaster recovery. Specific events discussed in this book include a broad spectrum of disasters such as tropical storms and typhoons in the Philippines; earthquakes in China; tsunamis in Indonesia, Japan, and Maldives; and bushfires in Australia. The book aims to generate discussions about improved risk reduction strategies throughout the region and seeks to provide a comparative perspective across countries in order to draw lessons from three perspectives: public policy, humanitarian systems, and community engagement. 

Building Community Disaster Resilience through Private-Public Collaboration

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Committee on Private-Public Sector Collaboration to Enhance Community Disaster Resilience. 2011.Building Community Disaster Resilience through Private-Public Collaboration. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

This report assesses the current state of private-public sector collaboration dedicated to strengthening community resilience, identifies gaps in knowledge and practice, and recommends research that could be targeted for investment. Specifically, it finds that local-level private-public collaboration is essential to the development of community resilience. Sustainable and effective resilience-focused private-public collaboration is dependent on several basic principles that increase communication among all sectors of the community, incorporate flexibility into collaborative networks, and encourage regular reassessment of collaborative missions, goals, and practices. (Arrietta Chakos, former project director for PCL's Acting in Time Advance Recovery Project, served as a committee member.) 

Managing Crises: Responses to Large-Scale Emergencies

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Arnold M. Howitt and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, eds., with David Giles. 2009. Managing Crises: Responses to Large-Scale Emergencies. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Featuring 15 Kennedy School cases on large-scale emergencies – from the 1992 LA riots to the Toronto SARS crisis and Hurricane Katrina – this textbook helps students consider some of the fundamental questions of emergency management: How should governments organize and plan for significant emergencies? What accounts for governments' effective responses to unfolding disasters? How can governments and partner organizations improve response capabilities? Managing Crises gives students a clear understanding of the different types of disaster governments confront and of the key challenges governments face in preparing for and responding to these events. 

The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation

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Committee on the Role of Public Transportation in Emergency Evacuation. 2008. The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation.Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, National Research Council.

Written at the request of Congress in the aftermaths of the September 11 attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this Transportation Research Board report explores the capacity of the country’s largest transit systems to support emergency response and evacuation processes in the event of another large scale disaster. Chaired by Richard A. White, former General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the authoring committee included representatives of academia and of transportation, transit, and emergency management agencies. (Arnold M. Howitt, co-director of the Program on Crisis Leadership, served as one of the 11 committee members.)

Countering Terrorism: Dimensions of Preparedness

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Arnold M. Howitt and Robyn Pangi, eds. 2003. Countering Terrorism: Dimensions of Preparedness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

The events of September 11 awakened the United States to its vulnerability to terrorist attacks. In Countering Terrorism, experts from such disparate fields as medicine, law, public policy, and international security discuss institutional changes the country must make to protect against future attacks. In these essays, they argue that terrorism preparedness is not just a federal concern, but one that requires integrated efforts across federal, state, and local governments.

First to Arrive: State and Local Responses to Terrorism

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Juliette Kayyem and Robyn L. Pangi, eds. 2003. First to Arrive: State and Local Responses to Terrorism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

First to Arrive argues that the best way for America to prepare for terrorism is to listen to people in the field; those working on the ground can guide decisions at the top. Many of the contributors are first responders who have long been dedicated to domestic preparedness; others are political scientists and historians who provide a broader context. They analyze critical but often overlooked issues, explain the operational needs of state and local governments, and provide practical solutions to the challenges of local and state domestic preparedness.

Preparing for Terrorism: Tools for Evaluating the Metropolitan Medical Response System Program

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Frederick J. Manning and Lewis Goldfrank, eds. 2003. Preparing for Terrorism: Tools for Evaluating the Metropolitan Medical Response System Program. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

The Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides funds to major U.S. cities to help them develop plans for coping with the health and medical consequences of a terrorist attack with chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) agents. This report provides the managers of the MMRS program and others concerned about local capabilities to cope with CBR terrorism with three evaluation tools and a three-part assessment method. (NAS panel member/authors include Arnold M. Howitt, Joseph Barbera, Frances Edwards Winslow, and Darrel Stephens—all members of the Kennedy School’s Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness.)