Read Last Man Down: The Fireman's Story The Heroic Account Of How Pitch Picciotto Survived The Collapse Of The Twin Towers And Lead His Men To Safety by Richard Picciotto Online


On September 11th 2001, Battalion Commander Richard Pitch Picciotto lead seven companies of fire fighters up the B stairway to Tower 1 of the World Trade Centre. Pitch and his men were on the 17th floor racing upward when the world seemed to explode around them. Out of radio communication with the command centre and with no time to reflect Pitch ordered the evacuation of TOn September 11th 2001, Battalion Commander Richard Pitch Picciotto lead seven companies of fire fighters up the B stairway to Tower 1 of the World Trade Centre. Pitch and his men were on the 17th floor racing upward when the world seemed to explode around them. Out of radio communication with the command centre and with no time to reflect Pitch ordered the evacuation of Tower 1. Firefighters staged an orderly retreat until word came that the stairwell was blocked with debris. From his knowledge of the towers gained during service after the 1993 WTC bombing, Pitch lead the firefighters to an alternate stairwell, and the descent continued. After eight minutes when they reached floor 12 Pitch and his men discovered 50 traumatized civilians. Fourteen minutes had elapsed since the collapse of Tower 2. Pushing and cajoling them down and out Pitch was in the 7th floor stairwell when a sound of thunder was heard from above. It took eight seconds for Tower 1 to fall. Pitch and a handful of survivors woke to find themselves buried on the landing of floor 2, in an inky cavity broken by the screams of hurt men. This is the story of how they made it out....

Title : Last Man Down: The Fireman's Story The Heroic Account Of How Pitch Picciotto Survived The Collapse Of The Twin Towers And Lead His Men To Safety
Author :
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ISBN : 9780752842875
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 492 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Last Man Down: The Fireman's Story The Heroic Account Of How Pitch Picciotto Survived The Collapse Of The Twin Towers And Lead His Men To Safety Reviews

  • Michael
    2019-04-03 16:24

    As a career fire captain, I was really looking forward to this book. It did not take long for me to become dubious. I was turned off early on at the frequent references to his rank. Multiple times he bragged about his fitness, and how he was running past much younger firefighters on his way up the stairwell. He failed to mention that he was carrying (most likely) only a radio, while firefighters, lieutenants, and captains were carrying firefighting tools and rescue equipment. This Chief's account of what happened seemed unbelievable. Not long after I read it, I heard several reports of outright lies, and embellishments. He even admitted in one interview that some of the accounts were written as he 'assumed' they had happened. Don't waste your money. There are plenty of good books about firefighters and 9/11 out there. This is not one of them.Check out: "102 Minutes"

  • ^
    2019-04-20 15:17

    “Last Man Down …” is one fireman’s (fire-fighter’s) terrifically American account of his working day on the 9th September 2001; the day that the World Trade Centre in New York was destroyed by terrorist attack. Anyone who missed the events taking place in New York on that day may find a reputable journalist’s report helpful; I suggest that at of the phraseology in Picciotto and Paisner’s book baffleed me; for example “Maybe a doughnut fisted on the fly” (p.19). Visions of muscular doughnuts and chewy jam (jelly(US) came to mind. Also “I always made a point of taking their parking spaces, for chop-busting reasons” (p.22). “Chop-busting”? I still haven’t worked that one out. Unfortunately my UK Orion book edition missed an opportunity to provide helpful translations into British English. Two nations indeed divided by a common language.Division of language aside, this book is an interesting read; describing events as it does from the inside, from the viewpoint of the Commander of Federal Department New York Battalion 11. Firefighters, or rather firemen, as we know them in Britain, here. The narrative of this book does succeed in describing a reality that overcomes disbelief. Yet I was so positively discombobulated, that I literally did lose my bearings, both in time and in space: which in an oddly apposite manner could be interpreted as entirely fitting given the subject. This book is ‘high octane’ reading; and no, I’m not making a sick joke about aviation fuel here.The buildings that I, and so many others had known, which so swiftly ceased as ordered substance in an ordered democratic society, now form part of world history. Picciotto and Paisner were faced with an acute difficulty in finding words appropriate to describe such gross and sudden change. Landmarks once familiar vanished. Time removed stability, sightlines and sense of place. Fear and confusion reigned. Just how had such wickedness taken hold? How had this evil forced such appallingly unthinkable changes away from the daily working order of business, bagels and coffee; instead imposing a four dimensional maelstrom of fire, deformation and mass death? Survival overrides such thoughts; saving them for later. Right now flight is at the forefront of everybody’s mind. But how? And where is ‘safe’?It is precisely that very narrative of time, fear, and loss of directional-sense that is so unnerving. How does any living human make sense of a reality of Hell? Yes, it would have been very helpful to have had a neat 3D schematic diagram of the plaza of the World Trade Centre’s seven buildings rather than the map given, a very rough, external 2D flat sketch map indicating three rescue routes. But on and below a ground bearing, yet like quicksand not bearing, such an unprecedented tearing upheaval of steel, concrete, glass and death; the original buildings’ plan had pretty much ceased to have any useful meaning attached to it. How to work together to survey and communicate the unapproachable and unexpected? What now? Where were, and at what angles, were floors, staircases, lifts, and the employees, dead or alive, mobile or injured, who had arrived at their conventional places of work that morning?, Who and what was realistically and ‘safely’ reachable? What was dangerous and unapproachable? How did it all relate? A constantly shifting mass of rubble, twisted steel, concrete, dust, debris, more dust, and death. Aviation fuel meant that fire and incineration was an ever present reality, barrier, and risk. Out of the frying pan and into the fire? So very, very many did die, and died so very horribly. Picciotto angrily criticises those who jumped from the higher floors, who in seeking a quick death for themselves fell on and killed their escaping fellow humans on the ground. He accepts and finds an understanding but no pity for their selfishness. Alas, he has time, too much time, with his thoughts as he and others are immobilised; physically trapped alive, barely able to move, in a void, with little to do other than speculate on the present, whilst waiting for death … or rescue? His eyes, suffered from the ingress of ash and grit hurt terribly. Human nature, bloody determination, and brotherhood in terrible adversity takes over. Later, and away from this book, Professor Edward Tufte aspired to a future of a stoic nation, The human spirit lives, reflects and learns. So it is likewise with Commander Picciotto, who discovers that there’s nothing quite like surviving such a dramatic near brush with death, as to remind one of the preciousness of life. But whether or not he was ever able to return to work in his beloved NY Fire Service, we are not told.

  • Sam
    2019-04-22 17:28

    I really enjoyed this book. I found the author to be a bit arrogant at times but it was interesting to get a point of view of what it was like for Firefighters on 9/11.After reading the book I read online a lot of the others mentioned in this book and trapped in the stairwell with Picciotto no longer speak to him because of liberties he took. Making up stuff and taking credit for actions taken by others - that kind of ruined the book for me. If it was all true it would be amazing.

  • Will
    2019-03-26 17:03

    There is to much self gratification within the book, though the subject matter is very interesting.

  • Kylie Martin
    2019-04-03 22:13

    A friend told me how good this book was. I'm about 30 pages from the end and have already lined my next book up.The initial part of the book gives the typical 'lets rush in' american attitude. Picciotto should never have been there, he charged down and abandoned his own firehouse to help. Charged into the command centre and grabbed a group of firefighters, allocated himself a rescue. There ended up being no one to resuce so he abandoned the team he went up with and charged up further, found some more firefighters and then realised the other tower went down so they could be in danger, basically descended then clearing each floor and happened to find a group of stragglers / disabled, which he did have the fortune to help down. Then the tower collapsed and he was trapped along with a civilian and some crew. Here is the interesting part where he describes his thoughts and views, then how he saw a light and climbed out, then he got all impatient again and risked his life to get out even though he could see a rescue team.I found this guy to be generally a bit of an idiot with the charge in attitude, the self loving and the i saved the day attitude, but having said all that credit to those that do the job and save lives - i realise all he wanted to do was be there and help out but he ignored his command and abandoned his own firehouse, whcih would make me not trust him to watch my back - something he goes on about.i would be interested to read another book on 9/11 from a more genuine character

  • Russ
    2019-04-17 18:16

    I read this sometime in 2006, but I can't really remember which month."Last Man Down" is the amazing story of Richard Picciotto, a NYC fireman who was at the scene of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. Richard tells, in vivid detail, what it was like to experience that day. He describes his role as a fireman during the rescue efforts and tells just how crazy and chaotic the scene really was. Surprisingly, the book isn't too emotional, except in the ending chapters. Picciotto tells the story like a guy who had a job to do - and on 9/11, that's what he was. And let me tell you, he did a great job.Favorite part: The whole thing. It's all fascinating.Favorite character: Richard Picciotto, of course.

  • Nm Boi
    2019-04-10 16:28

    This was another book I picked up at the station where I work. Read it in two days! Not a bad read at all. Richard Picciotto an FDNY Battalion Commander was in the World trade center on September 11th 2001 with a group of firefighters and one civilian when it collapsed sending him and the others into a fight for survival. This story gives me chills knowing what those firefighters were up against that dreadful day. And a whole new level of respect for the courage and sacrifices made that day. A true testament to the human spirit!

  • Scott L.
    2019-04-11 18:21

    This book is a good read, but not great. I think that Picciotto's egotism got in the way of what could have been a truly excellent book on the September 11th attacks. Having said that, I think that all the firefighters, police, EMS and rescue workers deserve credit, and I give him credit for being one of the Bravest. Unfortunately, he chose to boost himself with this book instead of the whole effort.

  • Steve Parcell
    2019-04-12 15:02

    This is an excellent book written from the point of view of one of the firefighters who survived the collapse of the first tower to be hit.Very well written and descriptive. You almost feel you are there with the author. Thoroughly fascinating read

  • Lisa
    2019-04-10 16:15

    I read this book in a day because I just could not put it down. This book brings a new side to the tragedy of 9/11, somebody who was on the inside--literally.

  • Yeewei Cheo
    2019-04-15 22:15

    The character's over-inflated ego makes it hard for me to turn the pages, interesting subject matter - tarnished with dull writings

  • Al
    2019-04-01 14:04

    Wow this guy really loves himself. I certainly appreciate the fact that he made it out, but does he sit on the right hand of God? Book overall was Ok a little difficult to read at times.

  • Keith
    2019-04-21 17:01

    Excellent survival story of a man caught in the World Trade Center on 9-11 and how he got out.

  • Diane Lybbert
    2019-03-23 19:26

    Fascinating insider's story of the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11. Picciotto is a Chief with the Fire Dept. sent to Ground Zero. As he is clearing the 2nd Tower with a group of other firefighters, the Tower collapses and traps him, his crew, some other firefighters, and one civilian in a stairwell. They are buried there for hours, trying to make contact with the outside, and assessing how many are alive with them in the debris-filled stairwell above and below them. After hours the dust settles and Picciotto sees daylight far above him. He and a few others venture to climb out of the hole and get the others rescued. But all they see is acres and acres of smoke, fire, debris, and dust. The book was fast-moving and tense, and a quick read. Two things I wish had been included in the book: 1) a diagram of the debris field and their location; and 2) an update on how he and the others recovered from the injuries they sustained. Highly recommend this book.

  • Heidi
    2019-03-27 16:26

    Amazing True Account of Survival from the Collapse of the World Trade CenterThis is the true account of Fire Chief Richard Picciotto, a small group of firemen and one civilian after the collapse of towers of the World Trade Center. He tells in great detail what actions he took on that fateful day, and where he was, how he felt, what he thought about after being trapped in the rubble after the collapse of the buildings. This is a very stirring book about a man who never gave up, and due to his diligence saved the lives of a civilian and other firemen. This man is in every sense a true hero. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a heartwarming true story about 9/11.

  • Grace
    2019-03-25 16:24

    This is a moving first-person account of the North Tower collapse on 9/11 by an FDNY battalion commander who was inside as the tower came down. Picciotto's story is powerful, and my appreciation for his experiences was only heightened after having visited the 9/11 museum in NY this past spring. My only criticism is that the book ends so abruptly. I realize it was written very soon after the attacks, but I wish there had been more resolution to both his story and the the stories of those who were rescued with him. That may sound selfish, given that this was such a harrowing, horrific experience for a human to go through, but I think readers would like to know more about what his life is like now, and how he's reflected on the events of 9/11.

  • Jennifer LCF
    2019-04-06 20:19

    Interesting to hear the events, but he goes on the rants against the FDNY several times throughout the book, that are out of line when discussing this event. He thinks an awful lot of himself, which is evidenced in the writing. I've read many books from survivors of 9/11. This story is a miracle, but I was so disappointed that Picciotto consistently relates his survival back to his own leadership and skill rather that the power of something so much bigger than himself. His constant swipes at "the brass" (higher up management) reads like a bitter, spoiled child, rather than someone of humility and honor with genuine concerns.

  • Kim Ingham
    2019-04-04 20:24

    AMAZING READThis book out more reality into 9/11 than anything else I have read. Unless we know a civil servant we rarely put a lot of thought into what they do everyday but this book will open your eyes and your hearts. Read it and pass it on. Well written Richie and I'm so glad you made it out.

  • Jane Thompson
    2019-04-22 17:09

    911 StoryThis is a gripping book. Once I started it, I could not stop reading until I finished of. Of course I knew the story, but not its details. The author tells a good story. It is fascinating and well worth the read.

  • Louise Sethmann
    2019-04-13 17:15

    Fascinating presentation of the inside workings of NYCFD. Then especially the thoughts and feelings of an individual fireman and the approach during 9-11. I have much more respect and thanks for those firefighters that died. Couldn't put it down!

  • Laura Heitzman
    2019-03-31 19:25

    NYC Firefighters 9/11Great book from the perspective of a firefighter who was buried by the collapse of the tower. His journey, escape and true feelings come spilling out on each page. Great read!

  • Annie Booker
    2019-03-30 19:14

    Absolutely gripping. A great read.

  • Julie
    2019-04-04 18:31

    Interesting story of a 9/11 firefighter

  • Juanita
    2019-04-21 15:23

    Review: Last Man Down by Daniel Paisner.There are probably many books out there about September 11th, 2011. This is only one man’s story of what happened to him through the harrowing experience. The book was well written and emotionally sensitive but not gory or overplayed, it was from the heart. Chief Richard Picciotto uses his own words describing what he felt, sensed, seen, and retells the emotional roller-coaster he was on when he ordered the North Tower to be evacuated knowing there were many firefighting brother’s still in the building trying to save citizens. While on the thirty-fifth floor in the North Tower he had already heard about the South Tower collapsing. Now the North Tower was screeching, rumbling and vibrating terrible noises from above which he surmised this Tower was going down too. He felt he needed to make a decision because many more fire fighters were throughout the building and he wanted them to have the chance to get out before the building collapsed. Many fire fighters were retreating through three different stairways. Stairwell A, and C were on opposite sides of the building and Stairwell B was in the center. It was a slow process down floor levels because at times there were too many people crammed together, all wanting to get out, and some of the passages needed to be cleared before they could move on. Picciotto and his crew, around six men, took the B stairwell so they could, with a faster pace, check each floor level for any person that might had been stranded trying to get out. There were many other firemen ahead of them so they weren’t totally a small crew maybe all together about seventy firemen. When they got to the twentieth floor Chief Picciotto was still checking each floor when he came across a room closed off with about sixty people all scared and huddled together waiting for someone to help them out. They had come down from one of the real higher floors and needed help to keep going down. The firemen had reached a problem. About thirty people in that room were disable in one way or the other and the other caring people were staying with them and helping them get down the stairway at a slow pace. It didn’t take long for Chief Picciotto to get those seventy firefighters forming a line from the stairway to that room and moving the people out while still in the back of his mine he new more tragedy was near. At least now the firefighters were doing something they were sent into North Tower to do, save people. The guilt of retreating was fading in their mines as they helped each citizen in that room.Chief Picciotto was at the rear still checking for people on his way down when he heard a horrible screeching and thunderous sounds coming down upon him and some of the men. He had time to think and feel that most of them got out in time as the North Tower collapsed. As he clears his senses he realizes he is alive and in the twisted debris of stairway B ten to fifteen men and one women citizen was also alive within the collapse area and in pockets of small open spaces. They began communicating back and forth and new they were trapped under the debris of the North Tower. From this point on the harrowing hours of what went on as they were trapped and nobody new they were alive…

  • Homo Sapien
    2019-04-20 22:02

    Chief Rich Picciotto was stuck. As he watched the first plane hit the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, with his men at a fire station in New York city, he knew he had ot do something. He wanted to be there as badly as any of the firefighters under his command. But despite the fire and chaos clearly visible on the news, dispatch didn't offer any orders for him, so Chief Picciotto went in alone. Arriving at the tower, he grabbed a company of firefighters awaiting direction and headed up the tower, clearing floor after floor of the 110 floor building, getting all the civilians out that he could. It was impossible to ascend to or above the fire floor to rescue those trapped above where the plane hit.Every firefighter in the building heard the second tower collapse beside theirs. Radio silence tortured them with unknowing what that huge, horrendous noise could have been. One sentence came over the radio, "The tower came down." It took them a few minutes to realize the calamity that must have occurred outside, where none of them could see in the windowless corridor where they stood. Ordering an evacuation, Picciotto did all he could to get all the rescue workers out of the North Tower before it, too, succumbed to whatever had caused the first collapse. He was too late. Trapped with fourteen other firefighters and one civilian in the wreckage of the tower, collapsed around them, he called desperately for help over the radio. No one was alive to answer.Finally, finally, he got answer over the radio: help was on the way. But buried under the rubble of the tower, it was nearly impossible to find Picciotto and the others. Eventually, though, there was a breakthrough, and with Chief Pitch leading the way, the firefighters escaped the wreckage of the North Tower. This book was deeply moving to me; getting a firefighter's perspective of this terrible event was significant because they were running INTO the mess, not away from it. While I am too young to remember the events of 9/11, I recognize its mark on our nation, it's mark on even the generations too young to remember it, its mark on humanity. It is books like these that serve to show us that even if we are attacked savagely, we will pull through it as a nation and as a people.

  • Mark Maguire
    2019-03-25 19:11

    I found this book at a reduced price in a discount store. I read the preface and thought that for the price that I paid for it, it was "worth the risk". I was initially discouraged by the "fiction" classification that had been imposed on the book by the publishers. In line with the majority of the World's population, I can still vividly remember the TV images that I was witnessed on that day and witnessed the heroism of the First Responders. My concern was, that any fictionalised account may trivialise the events on that day. Thankfully, my concerns proved to be unfounded as I worked through the book in quick time without objection. The book was a compelling read. The narrative takes you from the Author's pre-attack assumption of a "normal" working day, commuting into New York by way of a bakery to buy Bagels for the crew at the Firehouse, through to the the Author's shock at the images he was seeing on the TV at the Firehouse once the attacks had commenced; culminating in his arrival at the World Trade Centre where the story unfolds in spectacular detail. The incidental details that the Author recounts during his ascent, and descent, within the North Tower, create an incredibly powerful mental picture of what he and others, encountered. The "story of survival" is made all the more potent by the fact that, as the Author is working through the offices of the North Tower looking for survivors and encountering other rescue personnel during his ascent, his colleagues in the South Tower are losing their lives as the Tower collapses. The apocalyptic environment that the Author finds himself operating within leads the reader towards the emotional, and psychological, struggle to come to terms with the grim new reality whilst also considering mortality. I have read a number of books on the 9/11 attacks and this one was one of the most enthralling. I have always had a tremendous respect for the First Responders that ran into the Twin Towers as everyone else was making their way out from them. This book gave me an insight into the strength of character of the Author and his resolve to rescue as many people as possible whilst being aware that both himself and his colleagues may die in the course of their duty. Highly recommended.

  • Janet
    2019-04-12 19:11

    I’ve been away from Goodreads for some time, now. It is the season for spring cleaning, for squaring away one’s life in anticipation of summer relaxation yet to come, and in preparation for the festive business of the fall. Just because I’ve stopped reviewing for a time does not mean my literary life has ceased expeditions. I’ve got a pile of excellent books, steps high, awaiting review Ops. I finished another this morning, and as I man my garage sale, I’ll begin here.Last Man Down is the story of a NY Firefighter on 9-11. It is well written in that as a reader I can “hear” the intonations and regional inflections of FDNY Battalion Commander Richard Picciotto’s voice. It is written as he speaks and lives. And this New York City Firefighter is not afraid to lead from the front, nor speak his mind. Trapped in the North Tower of the World Trade Center as it plummeted to the ground, Commander Piccotto’s message is one of courage, of the inherent nobility of Firefighters, and of the Firefighter’s tradition of service to America’s communities. Commander Picciotto’s message is also one of caution. In this current political age, as corrupt legislators from the highest levels down care more about their own pocketbooks and re-election than they do about “we the people,” tax money is diverted away from essential areas. Our firefighters deserve to have the supplies and equipment they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently. They deserve to have a decent quality of life. It disgusts me to envision the bailouts and bridges to nowhere while our finest firefighters must devise their own utility belts out of old car seat belts, live on food stamps, and bring their own toilet paper to the table. C’mon America, we can do better than this. Election year is coming. The future starts now.

  • Austin Bachtel
    2019-04-13 17:30

    “May their spirits soar, and their legacies linger, and may their mention here stand for the bells that never rang in their honor.” By Richard Picciotto. This Quote is what he wrote before he listed all 343 firemen and women that passed away on the most disastrous day in United States history; Also known as 9/11. Richard Picciotto is the author of the book, “Last Man Down”. This book is “his” first hand look as a FDNY Battalion Commander on that day and in those building as they fell to their resting place.If I had the money, I would personally buy this book for every man, woman, and child that is alive in this great country we call home. I believe that this book “Last Man Down” is the best book that I have ever read and I don’t know if anyone could write a book that would even come close to being better than this one. I could not have read this book in one sitting because I have other things to do but at times, I wanted to keep reading and not do those other things. I mainly liked this book because it was a first hand look at what the worst day in U.S. history looked like at the point of attack. I recommend this book to all adults that remember September 11, 2001. I would not recommend this book to younger kids because of his language at some points. I believe that firefighters and their wives should also read this just to see what it is like to be a firefighter in New York City. If any firefighter read this review, I want to thank you for your service and stay safe out there.

    2019-04-10 20:02

    The book I read about is called Last Man Down by Richard Picciotto and Daniel Paisner.Last Man Down: This book is about heroism, on the date of September 11, 2001 a terrorist attack brought about by an infamous group called Al Qaeda hijacked four passenger air plans. Two planes hit the twin towers the third hit the pentagon and the fourth Shanksville, Pennsylvania The book tells the struggle of one man a Commanding fire fighter named Daniel Pasiner and his fellow fire fighters to save the people inside the towers and save themselves before the building collapses.Last Man Down: Is a wonderful account about a horrible account. The author how was the main character Richard Picciotto and Dainiel Paisner to help him write a story you see through Richard Picciottos eyes. It shows the triumph and tragedy on one of the worst days in American history.The book falls short not telling the reader the affected the rest of the life’s of the fire fighters after this horrific event and it doesn’t tell it from someone how was trapped in the building losing coworkers or how this effected their future in trying to find a job or to live a normal life.I normally never read, but I liked this book a lot. It was hard to read in the beginning because of the tragedy but it opened my eyes to one of the most gruesome events in America.

  • Serena.. Sery-ously?
    2019-04-11 15:20

    Volevo leggere questo libro da anni e dunque, a conti fatti, la delusione è stata parecchia :(Sebbene ci siano state un paio di scene che mi hanno fatto sentire fisicamente male (come era d'altronde prevedibile): la gente che, disperata, si butta dagli ultimi piani delle torri in fiamme e una stanza, verso l'undicesimo piano, piena di persone sulla sedia a rotelle, con problemi di deambulazione o semplicemente troppo anziane per arrivare fino al piano terra, in compagnia di persone coraggiose e altruiste che pur non conoscendole, le avevano aiutate fino a lì ed erano restie ad abbandonarle; ecco, nonostante questo, la narrazione non è riuscita a trasmettermi molto ed è stata assai pregiudicata dal narratore: è un eroe, io lo so.. Ma l'ho preso troppo in antipatia perché in lui non ho trovato un briciolo di umiltà ma tanta autocelebrazione (che sì, ci sta.. Ma forse andava espressa un po' meglio!).Il libro poi dal punto di vista stilistico - e qui la colpa non è del povero pompiere che si è invece affidato a Daniel Painser, un esperto di biografie a quanto pare, ma che secondo me avrebbe fatto meglio a lavorare nelle miniere della Patagonia - è un disastro completo.. Peccato :(