The Commission

What We Didn’t Know About 9/11

In a work of history that will make headlines, New York Times reporter Philip Shenon investigates the investigation of 9/11 and tells the inside story of the most significant federal commission since the Warren Commission.

From the Commission’s inception, Shenon covered its workings on a daily basis, developing sources at all levels of the investigation. Now, more than five years later, he has returned to those sources and uncovered important information which casts a new light on what the Commission discovered – and failed to discover.

If a great reporter had been present throughout the workings of The Warren Commission, we might have a better understanding of the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy. Philip Shenon’s book on the 9/11 Commission serves as both an essential historical record and a fascinating inside account of how our government works at the highest and most secret levels.


"Mesmerizing… vivid portraits of everyone from Henry Kissinger to Samuel R. Berger, from George Tenet to Condoleezza Rice. Few reputations emerge unscathed …Shenon vividly illuminates the obstacles to holding high-level intelligence and government officials accountable for their bungling." —Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times Book Review, 4/13/08,

"The Commission offers a luminous window into the world of the power-hungry, sleep-deprived overachievers who control our destiny." —Edward Cuddihy, The Buffalo News, 3/30/08,

"Rich slice of investigative journalism…. Fascinating…. The Commission is a masters’ thesis in human frailty." —Peter Preston, The Observer (London), 3/23/08,

"You will be hopping mad after reading Philip Shenon’s The Commission… The almost total dysfunction of the government agencies charged with protecting us – particularly the FBI, which was almost dissolved -- is also brought to light." —Tom Walker, Denver Post, 3/15/08,

"Spellbinding new book… A series of gripping vignettes… dazzled by this surprisingly vibrant expose of the government of our time." —Elizabeth Benedict, The Huffington Post, 3/7/08,

"I literally could not put it down… Fascinating… It owes a lot to Robert Ludlum. I felt I was reading a teleplay for ’24." —Michael Duffy, Time Magazine,3/9/08,

"New York Timesman Philip Shenon's fast-paced, complex history of the commission…. It's a history that's both reassuring and disturbing, a compelling primer on how Washington works -- and doesn't -- in times of crisis … The Commission is hard to put down." —Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/17/08,

"Lifting the veil to understand the 9/11 Commission … clearly written, meticulously detailed, exhaustively reported account … the cumulative effect of reading all of it in one book is stunning" —Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times, 2/17/08,

"Fascinating." —John Stewart, "The Daily Show" 2/11/08,

"I think Shenon did a remarkable job of bringing what could have been a dry topic to life, making it a fascinating read and a real insight into the Bush White House and its amoral attitude toward governing." —Richard A. Clarke, former White House terrorism advisor, author, Against All Enemies, 2/08/08,

"The Commission by Philip Shenon is a Startling, Riveting, Disturbing Read about the "Uncensored" History of the 9/11 Investigation…Stunning history … This is an eye-opening look inside the 9/11 Commission, juicy in details and personalities. After all is said and done, the most alarming thing that emerges from this book is the absolute incompetence of many in the government from the White House down to the FBI and the CIA. And what is even more frightening, is that many of the players are still at their posts, just as they were on 9/11." —Dermot McEvoy, Publishers Weekly, 2/08/08,

"Philip Shenon’s The Commission is a well-researched and written account of the deliberations of the "9/11 Commission" … Reading Mr. Shenon’s book was both illuminating, because I discovered things I did not know, and disconcerting, because his view of our performance is not always favorable. ... My hope is that Mr. Shenon’s book becomes a bestseller and that enough individuals will reread the story of this conspiracy that we do not forget either the source of the danger or what we must do to defeat it." —Senator Bob Kerrey, member of the 9/11 commission, Prairie Fire,

"New book reveals clashes behind the 9/11 probe… Shenon's account uncovers a far greater degree of behind-the-scenes political maneuvering and bitter personal clashes than most people associate with the 9/11 panel."Newsweek, 2/4/08,

"Tragicomic Tale of the 9/11 Report… Mr. Shenon is a skillful writer and storyteller as well as a dogged reporter. In “The Commission,” he makes bureaucratic warfare exciting, largely because he has a keen grasp of human frailty and folly… Ultimately, as Mr. Shenon shows, the failure at the highest levels of the United States government was human. That is the real back story of 9/11." —Evan Thomas, The New York Times, 2/4/08,

Read the first chapter on the New York Times website.