Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds

Version: Unabridged
Author: Gary M. Pomerantz
Narrator: Boyd Gaines
Genres: History
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: September 2001
# of Units: 6 CDs
Length: 6 hours, 30 minutes
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In August 1995, twenty-six passengers and a crew of three board a commuter plane in Atlanta headed for Gulfport, Mississippi. Shortly after takeoff they her an explosion and some see a mangled engine lodged against the wing. From that moment, nine minutes and twenty seconds elapse until the crippled plane crashes in a west Georgia hayfield. Gary Pomerantz takes listeners deep into the hearts and minds of the people aboard, each of whom prepares in his or her own way for what may come.

Ultimately, ninteen people survive both the crash and its devastating aftermath, all of them profoundly affected by what they have seen and more important, what they have done to help themselves and others.

The psychologically illuminating real-life drama about ordinary prople and how they behave in extraordinary circumstances is suprisingly optimistic. In telling the remarkable stories of these twenty-nine men and women, Gary Pomerantz has written one of the most compelling books in recent memory. Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds speaks as powerfully about our capacity to care for others as it does about the strength of our will to live. This rich and rewarding audiobook will linger in your mind long after you finish listening.

Reviews (25)


Written by Crystal from El Paso, TX on May 3rd, 2011

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I couldn't get past the first cd, and that is that I made myself listen to it because I didn't have another book. Just too much going on and too many people (characters).

Surprisingly Good

Written by Anonymous on August 30th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Gets right up to the tolerable level of the "oh I don't want to hear this" but does not exceed it. Definitely a read for people who fly all the time and especially for pilots. I never thought about how long it takes to fall 30,000 feet.

Made my stomach squirm

Written by Anonymous from Hemet, CA on July 12th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I didn't mind the technical detail as I know a lot about airplanes, but I was turned off by all the gory details about the various passengers injuries just listed one after another. It was too nasty to listen to. I wish the blood and guts part was more spread out throughout the narrative.


Written by Anonymous on May 13th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I am flying this weekend. I will be doing so with more trepidation than if I had not listened to this book. Not for the weak of heart - and certainly not for anyone who has the least fear of flying.

Story not told in a compelling way

Written by Patti on February 17th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Aside from a reflective tone at the end, this book reads like an episode of CSI. LOTS of info about why the accident occurred, how the employee felt who worked on the defective engine part, and TONS of detail about every passenger (age, marital status, occupation, what their personalities were like and why). I don't mean to make light of the subject matter; these people went through a horrible ordeal. However, the excessive level of detail (throughout the book, but especially the first CD) didn't make for good storytelling. The only reason I continued listening was because I knew people's lives were changed forever and, in some way, I felt like I owed it to them to listen to the whole book. This is not to say that it would have been good with no specifics. The book just would have been more impactful if the author was more careful about which details to share rather than telling his readers about what felt like ALL of them.

Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds

Written by Steve Grimley from Alta Loma, CA on August 2nd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This was easily the best book to which I have listened in the six months I have been renting. It was constructed well and did a good job of balancing human interest and technical detail. The reader then took it to an even higher level with his excellent presentation. He added enough vocal touches to bring extra color to the story without overdoing it. If you like this type of nonfiction work, this should more than satisfy. As another reviewer noted, it is a book you wish would not end.

9 minutes 20 seconds

Written by KG from Atlanta, GA on June 1st, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Great book. I really like true stories like this. I thought this was very well done. Since I live in Atlanta, I may have had a greater interest. But the author tied all the different events together and made the different people stand out. Sometimes in these books it is hard to remember one person from the next,but I had no problem with that in this book even when I was away from the book for a few days. I also learned something about airplane crashes and the investigation. I know it is a good book when I don't want it to end.


Written by Anonymous on January 13th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This book was ghastly. I finished it thinking it would redeem itself, but I was disappointed. The descriptions of the suffering that burn victims suffered was far too graphic and extended. The story could be told from such a better point of view. Unless you are looking for blood and gore, don't bother!

Story crashes and burns

Written by Anonymous on February 10th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Dreadful - this is the sort of story for people who are attracted to death and suffering. After a CD and half of the minute of people's lives, which doesn't turn out to be relevant, we are then treated to ghastly descriptions reveling in hideous details. There is only so many times you can hear about someone's skin melting onto their bones before you conclude that there is something seriously wrong with the author. No redeeming qualities in this book. Couldn't even finish it.

A Story of Tragedy Well Told

Written by Tonytoga from Houston, TX on December 28th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

On the average day in the United States as many as 135 people will die in traffic accidents....hundreds more injured. An average of 37 are killed each day in out of the way Kenya. The daily average is 33 in Thialand....nearly a million people each year worldwide. Then why when 10 or 12 or even 150 people die one day in the crash of an airplane does it make such news? This book is an illustration of why we are fascinated by air accidents. Gary Pomerantz takes us into the details of both the accident and its cause as well as into the lives of those directly effected by the tragedy. We see the heroism of the pilots and the abject terror of those passengers in the cabin who have much time to consider their individual fates. It's a hard book to read inasmuch as you know the outcome before starting and you hate to "live" through what is about to happen to those 29 souls onboard. It's a dramatic rollercoaster ride that will keep you riveted. Four starts for story and presentaton.

Author Details

Author Details

Pomerantz, Gary M.

Gary M. Pomerantz is a nonfiction author and journalist and has served the past seven years as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Pomerantz has written four books, including Their Life's Work and the New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn.