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What we’re reading: 9/11 ten years on, bat extinction and a 70-year-old mystery

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In our latest roundup of narrative and narrative-ish pieces, we’ve pulled together stories reflecting on 9/11, researchers dealing with an unstoppable disease, the end of a family fishing dynasty, and a tale tracking the convoluted path of rare U.S. coins the government has been fighting to get back since the days of FDR.

Karen Wagner’s Life” by John Sprong for Texas Monthly (via @longreads).

The initial flash of sound was deafening, unreal. The officers still in Axson’s office didn’t know what had happened. Some thought there might have been an explosion at the helipad. Others were certain it was part of the attack. Karen, who was sitting at her desk, never got to wonder.

For 9/11 Families, Healing Comes With New Starts and Tributes Paid” by Glenn Collins, Anthony DePalma, Robin Finn, Jan Hoffman, N. R. Kleinfield, Maria Newman and Janny Scott for The New York Times.

Alissa Torres has now lived without him three times longer than she was his wife, and sometimes, she admits, it’s kind of shocking to realize he actually existed. “I think of him every day,” Ms. Torres said, “but sometimes he seems like something I might have made up.”

“‘The lake left me. It’s gone.’” by Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel.

I think this is probably going to be the last time I see Milwaukee from the water, 77-year-old Alvin Anderson says.

Yeah, his son, Dan, replies glumly.

Then Milwaukee’s last working commercial fishing tug – the Alicia Rae – glides through the north gap of the Milwaukee Harbor breakwater.

And it is gone.

What Is Killing the Bats?” by Michelle Nijhuis for Smithsonian Magazine.

“On my worst days, I feel like we’re working our tails off just to document an extinction,” says Reeder. “But somehow in really teasing apart all of this, in really understanding how they die and why, we may find something really important, something we didn’t predict, something that might help.”

Gold Coins: The Mystery of the Double Eagle” by Susan Berfield for Bloomberg Businessweek (via @thebrowser).

The investigation has spanned three continents and involved some of the most famous coin collectors in the world, a confidential informant, a playboy king, and a sting operation at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. It has inspired two novels, two nonfiction books, and a television documentary. And much of it has centered around a coin dealer, dead since 1990, whose shop is still open in South Philadelphia, run by his 82-year-old daughter.




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