I've read three books that I highly recommend that address the emotional landscape created after September 11. They each stake out different territory, and they all do it with intelligence and insight. I am reviewing them in the order in which they were published.
The first is In the Shadow of No Towers, by Art Spiegelman, which came out in 2004. It is a graphic autobiography, meaning it has the look of a hardbound comic book but very personal subject matter. Spiegelman expresses the shock, horror, and outrage of someone who can't understand the attack or the policies that he feels provoked it. He feels betrayed by his country, and sees President Bush as recklessly endangering American citizens, especially New Yorkers, by launching the war on terror. The graphic book makes a gradual shift from these present-day anxieties to the ancient-seeming comics of the early 20th Century, concluding with a section that reverts back to the form of those comic strips completely. This last section is dense and difficult to get through, but overall the book is worth it because of its artistic integrity and outsider's perspective. It doesn't feel like a lecture, but it is definitely a wake-up call to those who feel safe years after the Sept. 11 attacks.