OVERRIDE

The Flag

The Basis for the CNN Films Documentary

David Friend

Picador

TO COINCIDE WITH THE MAJOR DOCUMENTARY, THE FLAG, FROM CNN FILMS—BASED ON DAVID FRIEND'S MASTERFUL ACCOUNT OF THE ICONIC IMAGE THAT DEFINED AMERICAN RESILIENCE AFTER 9/11

The Flag tells the fascinating and mysterious story behind the iconic image that captivated a nation. Excerpted from his critically acclaimed book Watching the World Change, journalist David Friend, an editor at Vanity Fair, reveals how a chance moment captured on camera—showing three firefighters hoisting a dust-laden Old Glory at Ground Zero on 9/11—inspired a nation during its darkest hour. But equally captivating is the maelstrom that surrounded the photograph in the months and years following its initial publication.

Friend brings us behind the scenes of the photograph's life, from its first exposure in a New Jersey newspaper to its instant fame as a rallying point for an embattled people looking for strength and a sense of community. In evenhanded and lucid prose, he describes the attempts to commodify the image, the heartbreaking appeals of families of the fallen to use it for memorial services, and the struggles of the three firemen to live with their unexpected fame.

Friend also traces the confounding path of the flag itself, which has been missing for twelve years, from the debris of the fallen towers, to Navy ships bound for the Middle East, to the hands of high-ranking dignitaries, showing how somewhere along the way the original was replaced by one completely different.

The Flag—now a CNN Films documentary, by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker—is ultimately the tale of a nation desperate for a source of strength and finding one in an image of men pushing forward despite devastation. It's the story of the best of our natures and the worst; of how imagery can guide and beguile us, but also of how an instant caught on film became a symbol of grace in the face of hopelessness and despair.

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  • ‘THE FLAG’ Pursues the Mystery of a Missing 9/11 Icon

    The first original documentary production commissioned for CNN FILMS, THE FLAG, directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, follows the mysterious journey of the American flag featured in one of the most iconic photographs taken at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The 90-minute film is based upon the book WATCHING THE WORLD CHANGE by David Friend.

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REVIEWS

Praise for The Flag

Praise for Watching the World Change

“David Friend shows [9/11] to us as no one has before.”—Anderson Cooper, CNN

“A lucid, thoughtful, and wide-ranging book...David Friend’s excellent writing conveys more of the truth of the day than photographs can.”—Garrison Keillor, The New York Times Book Review

“Compelling...Surely the most original treatement so far of the cultural impact of the day.”—Frank Rich, The New York Times

“Beautifully written and observed. Embodies the Buddhist wisdom about change, life, and the world more than anything written after the events of that day.”—Robert Stone

“Riveting...Wide-ranging and stimulating.”—Chicago Tribune

In the Press

'THE FLAG' Pursues the Mystery of a Missing 9/11 Icon – CNN Press Room - CNN.com Blogs
The First Commissioned CNN FILMS Documentary Debuts Wednesday, September 4 The first original production commissioned for CNN FILMS, THE FLAG, directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, follows the mysterious journey of the American flag featured in one of the most iconic photographs taken at ...
- CNN

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • David Friend

  • DAVID FRIEND, Vanity Fair’s editor of creative development and formerly Life’s director of photography, won Emmy and Peabody Awards for the documentary 9/11. He lives in New Rochelle, New York.
  • David Friend Harry Benson
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Flag

The Basis for the CNN Films Documentary

David Friend

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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