On My Watch
On My Watch is an interesting story... for awhile. The first half of the book is fascinating and engaging, as the author Virginia Buckingham describes the horror of the 9/11 attacks from her perspective as CEO of Logan Airport in Boston. Buckingham became the scapegoat for the ordeal by some political figures and reporters who needed someone to blame. She was deeply pained by the attacks, and deeply shamed by the view that it was her failure to put security safeguards in place, that enabled the attacks. Each time she is "exonerated" by a journalist, a commission or a trial, she regains her emotional footing, only to be knocked off balance again the next time someone holds her personally responsible. I usually enjoy a book that includes a psychological study of a public figure, but Virginia's descriptions of her seesawing emotional state is ceaselessly repetitive. She randomly decides to end the story with the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when she seems to be no better or worse off than she was 6 years prior.
Buckingham seems to feel the need to show the reader how well-connected she is to powerful people, but rather than lending her credibility, her status-seeking makes her seem a bit unlikeable. It also makes the reader question the wisdom of a governor APPOINTING someone with no aviation or security experience to run an international airport. Buckingham might have approached the story instead by describing the hard work and creative thinking she had to do in order to achieve her great successes.
On the plus side, I enjoyed Buckingham's descriptions of her yearly family icy water swims on New Year's Day, and of her relationship with her supremely patient and supportive husband. I applauded her fortitude in seeking therapy and moving forward in the face of the appalling accusations hurled against her, as well as her ability to keep reinventing herself when searching for new employment.
This book will be an important part of the 9/11 archives, and will be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in learning about it from a new perspective.
⭐⭐⭐/5 on Goodreads; 303 paperback pages