Review

The Woman Who Wasn't There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception

by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr.

In the aftermath of the tragic terrorist demolition of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, many survivors of the massacre connected with one another in a way that only fellow sufferers can understand. As those who lived through the historic day forged friendships with and drew strength from one another, one woman and her amazing story emerged as a survival superstar.

"THE WOMAN WHO WASN'T THERE is the fascinating tale of an individual with a sick need to be part of something she never even experienced."

Tania Head, who recounted the tragic loss of her fiancé, Dave, in the collapse of the North Tower, told of her terrifying fight to emerge alive from the Merrill Lynch offices on the 96th floor of the South Tower and bore the physical scars that touched the hearts of Americans in New York City and across the nation. She also recounted the story of a man who came to her rescue during the ordeal. According to her, Welles Crowthers was the very reason she was alive. She even met his family, congratulating them on the heroism of their son and commiserating with them on his loss.

Not only did Tania join forces with the other survivors, she became their leader when she helped them gain access to Ground Zero for a private visit, a privilege previously granted only to the families of the dead.  After working tirelessly as a member of the World Trade Center Survivors' Network, Tania was elected president of the organization. In that position, she enjoyed the honor of escorting Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki on the initial tour of the site at Ground Zero.

Lauded as an inspiration and a dynamo by her peers, Tania fought her own demons and helped others face theirs. So imagine the shock they experienced when they discovered that not only was their fearless leader nowhere near the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, she wasn't even in the country. Furthermore, family and friends of her supposed fiancé insist that they had never even heard the name Tania Head and that she couldn't have been his intended. Everything Tania told the press, the public and her friends was a fabrication.

When Tania connected with Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. in the hopes of creating a documentary about the survivors of 9/11, his research signaled the beginning of the end of her charade. As Guglielmo uncovered one deception after another, Tania's tale of woe and triumph unraveled completely.

THE WOMAN WHO WASN'T THERE is the fascinating tale of an individual with a sick need to be part of something she never even experienced. For reasons no one can fathom, she inserted herself into the midst of a group of people trying to recover from what undoubtedly was the great tragedy of their lives and became their leader.

Readers will shake their heads in wonder at the brazen bravado Tania Head displayed when she created a fictional life that put her first and foremost at the center of the greatest American tragedy to date. Even after the book is finished, they will be left to wonder, as we all are, why she created the enormous falsehood and what, if anything, she hoped to gain from it.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on April 6, 2012

The Woman Who Wasn't There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception
by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr.