The Red Bandanna - Tom Rinaldi

The Red Bandanna

By Tom Rinaldi

  • Release Date: 2016-09-06
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 50 Ratings)


A New York Times bestseller

What would you do in the last hour of your life?

The story of Welles Crowther, whose actions on 9/11 offer a lasting lesson on character, calling and courage
One Sunday morning before church, when Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red handkerchief for his back pocket. Welles kept it with him that day, and just about every day to come; it became a fixture and his signature.

A standout athlete growing up in Upper Nyack, NY, Welles was also a volunteer at the local fire department, along with his father. He cherished the necessity and the camaraderie, the meaning of the role. Fresh from college, he took a Wall Street job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but the dream of becoming a firefighter with the FDNY remained.

When the Twin Towers fell, Welles’s parents had no idea what happened to him. In the unbearable days that followed, they came to accept that he would never come home. But the mystery of his final hours persisted. Eight months after the attacks, however, Welles’s mother read a news account from several survivors, badly hurt on the 78th floor of the South Tower, who said they and others had been led to safety by a stranger, carrying a woman on his back, down nearly twenty flights of stairs.  After leading them down, the young man turned around.  “I’m going back up,” was all he said.

The survivors didn’t know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna.  

Tom Rinaldi’s The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.

From the Hardcover edition.


  • Good read on humanity..

    By zeromax001
    I was looking for a book to read when l travel. I recently heard the story on NPR during an interview with Tom Rinaldi promoting the book and the timing was right.. I still remember where I was and what I was doing when the towers were attacked. I am a fan of Tom Rinaldi from ESPN so I was interested. I think that Rinaldi does an excellent job of telling the story of Welles while respecting the sacrifices of all of the other heroes involved that day. If you are looking for a story that gives us hope on humanity then this is a good short read.. I am not an overly emotional person but it did spark my emotions..
  • Must Read

    By Submit ;)
    Everyone knows this story, but Tom Rinaldi tells it in a way that will stir your every emotion. Any parent reading this book will come away with a greater sense of appreciation of the preciousness of every moment of their children's lives. If you are at all a fan of Tom's ESPN stories, or want to be moved by the narrative of the greater power of selflessness, a must read !