In “Herodotus Reconsidered: An Oral History of September 11, 2001, in New York City,” Mary Marshall Clark reports on some outcomes of the large, longitudinal oral history project she and the sociologist Peter Bearman undertook in the weeks following the events of September 11, 2001. The project was designed to capture the life histories and event narratives of a diverse set of New Yorkers, and the interviewing resulted in more than one thousand hours of recording, six hundred hours of which are now available to the public for a total of 440 interviews. Clark and Bearman explored the ways that the stories of New Yorkers, whether directly or indirectly affected by the events, differed from the national construction of meaning disseminated by the government and the media. In this essay Clark explores the importance of oral history in defining public meaning and interpretation as the basis for the construction of the collective memory of events that are considered historical turning points.

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