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Garrett M. Graff

Everything we know about America changed on 9/11

9/11 Expert and Author of The Only Plane in the Sky

Contact Garrett For Booking
Garrett M. Graff | 9/11 Expert and Author of The Only Plane in the Sky
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

In the year of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, much has been said about that fateful day, yet we don’t often explore the story of the day as it was truly lived. One of America’s most distinguished journalists and historians, GARRETT M. GRAFF draws on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members in his New York Times bestselling book The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11. Providing an in-depth narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma, Graff helps us to understand the America we live in today by showing us a vivid exploration of humanity and extraordinary resilience on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.

“Eventually, of course, all of us who remember 9/11 will be gone, and some of our stories will be forgotten. But, thanks to Graff’s fine work, many will endure”

— Jay Carney, former White House Press Secretary and Amazon's current Sr Vice President for Global Affairs

The author of numerous critically acclaimed books, Graff’s The Only Plane in the Sky is the definitive oral history of the worst terrorist attack to happen on U.S. soil. Detailing the horrifying events that led to the largest loss of life since the Battle of Antietam during the civil war, the book pulls together 500 first-hand accounts from Americans across the country as the attacks unfolded. CNN’s Anderson Cooper says, “The Only Plane in the Sky is a stunning and important work—chilling, heartbreaking—and I cannot stop thinking about it.” Graff is also the author of The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller’s FBI, known as the definitive account of Robert Mueller’s career in the FBI, as well as Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battles Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat.     


As an award-winning journalist, Graff is a frequent contributor to WiredLongreads, and CNN. He’s also written for publications from Esquire to Rolling Stone to the New York Times, edited two of Washington’s most prestigious magazines, Washingtonian and POLITICO Magazine, and has had his reporting featured on shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. As in his writing, Graff’s talks leverage his instinct for hard facts with his imaginative consideration of the history that underpins our present—and future. 


“Had me turning each page with my heart in my throat…There’s been a lot written about 9/11, but nothing like this. I urge you to read The Only Plane in the Sky

Katie Couric

Speech Topics

Politics & Society
The Only Plane in the Sky Tracing a National Trauma
Over the past twenty years, much has been discussed about the horrific events that occurred on 9/11, but a major perspective has been missing—a 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it. 
In a talk based on his New York Times bestselling book The Only Plane in the Sky, award-winning journalist Garrett Graff tells the untold story of how the day really unfolded. Graff provides the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with the extraordinary events in real time: the father and son working in the North Tower, caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; and the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family. 
In this essential talk and powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans, Graff shows us the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unparalleled human drama—giving you a panoramic view of where America has been, and how it shaped who we are today.  
Politics & Society
Democracy Under Attack American Politics Today, At Home and Abroad

In this rousing and inspiring talk, Garrett M. Graff—who has spent a dozen years covering Washington, D.C., including the last two years covering Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Trump and who wrote the only existing biography of the special counsel—breaks down the state of American politics heading into the 2020 election.


Grounded in American history and on-the-ground experience covering politics from the White House to the FBI to the State Department—Graff connects the musical Hamilton, Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, the opioid epidemic, and the new, swirling questions around presidential impeachment to bring audiences an up-to-the-moment understanding of the American political landscape, Donald Trump’s impact on Washington, and how to think about the 2020 presidential campaign. He explains, in clear terms, what unfolded in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the realities of what the special counsel concluded and why, how Democrats and Republicans have reacted, and what America needs to do to secure its democratic process going forward.

Understanding the “Code War”
As co-author of the definitive book, Dawn of the Code War, the founding director of The Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program, and a contributing editor at WIRED Magazine, Garrett M. Graff is uniquely positioned to explain to audiences—both technical and non—how to understand the rise of cyber threats to organizations of all sizes, from multinational companies to local governments to consumers sitting at home.
He explains the big strategic picture—how America’s leading adversaries, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea all differ in their online tactics and goals—and the small, the tactical “what” and “how” of the concrete steps audiences can take right now to secure their lives online, as well as how today’s threats will evolve with tomorrow’s technology, from autonomous vehicles to internet-connected refrigerators. In a fun, engaging, and educational talk, he ranges from a leopard-print pajama-wearing Russian hacker and ISIL’s most dangerous online terrorist to the little-known story of Iran’s first attack on the United States—a casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—and the inside story of how China’s economic rise has been powered by stealing American ideas.
Audiences will come away from his talk knowing the lingo—from ransomware to Advanced Persistent Threats (ATPs)—and be able to understand the daily headlines around cyber threats in a new way and how online life will change in the years ahead.