Books About the Boston Marathon and 2013 Bombings

Thirteen books that will make you laugh, cry, remember, and look forward to the 2014 race.


With the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings upon us, several new books join a collection of published works that offer special insight into last year’s events, as well as a hopeful outlook for the 2014 race. Here, 13 books about the marathon and bombings worth your attention—just keep that tissue box at arm’s length. Note: many of these books give proceeds to the One Fund and other charities.

Stronger by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter

Of all the stories of struggle and triumph to come out of the Boston Marathon bombings, none have captured the country’s attention quite like Jeff Bauman’s. In his new book, Bauman opens up about the day of the bombings, working with the FBI, and his recovery process after losing both of his legs at the finish line. An exclusive excerpt of Stronger appeared in Parade magazine, and you can meet Bauman at a book signing at the Prudential Center later this month.

$26, Grand Central,

Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice by Scott Helman and Jenna Russell

Boston Globe writers Helman and Russell teamed up for Long Mile Home, drawing on the Globe’s in-depth coverage to provide an all-encompassing look at the Boston Marathon bombings. The book covers everything from the Tsarnaevs’ planning of the attack, to the bombings and subsequent manhunt, to stories of heroism and recovery.

$28, Penguin,

4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners by Hal Higdon

Before this book was picked up by Human Kinetics, Runner’s World editor Hal Higdon had originally self-published this set of stories: a streamlined collection of 75 messages sent to Higdon via Facebook, email, etc. from marathon runners after the bombings. Higdon weaves the stories together into one unified narrative from start to 4:09:43, the time on the finish line clock when the first bomb exploded.

$12, Human Kinetics,

26.2 Miles to Boston: A Journey into the Heart of the Boston Marathon by Michael Connelly (with Foreword by Bill Rodgers)

An updated version of 2003’s 26 Miles to Boston, 26.2 takes readers through the marathon route, including historical info along the way. For the updated version, Michael Connelly includes coverage of the 2013 bombings and interviews with runners. (He also corrects the length of the marathon in the book title.)

$19, Lyons Press,

The Boston Marathon: A Celebration of the World’s Premier Race by Tom Derderian (Also with Foreword by Bill Rodgers)

Similar to 26.2 Miles (see above), this updated edition takes you along the entire marathon route, sharing stories from Boston Marathons past, from the inspiring, to the hilarious, to the “oh no she didn’t!” moments in marathon history.

$23, Triumph,

If Not for the Perfect Stranger: Heartwarming and Healing Stories of Kindness from the 2013 Boston Marathon edited by Diane Montiel and Steve Alexander

Married couple Montiel and Alexander called dozens of runners for interviews to put in this collection of stories, which includes a reprint of a Runner’s World essay by Peter Sagal (NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”). The book is named after a quote from their interview with survivor Celeste Corcoran (whose daughter was also injured), who said, “If not for a perfect stranger, my daughter might have died.”

$15, Bantry Bay,

Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love edited by Andrew Blauner

This collection of short stories by Boston natives includes pieces from Dennis Lehane, Susan Orlean, John Updike, and more. The book was published in October by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, located on Boylston Street, just a hop, skip, and a jump east of the Boston Marathon finish line.

$16, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,

Boston Strong by Richard Blanco (Poetry)

Blanco, known for being the country’s fifth inaugural poet, read his poem “Boston Strong” at the Boston Strong benefit concert in 2013 (who knew poems were such great lead-ins for rock concerts?) The poem was released in May in this limited edition commemorative chapbook. You can watch Blanco’s original reading on YouTube.

$10, University of Pittsburgh Press,

Bled for Boston by Christopher Padgett (Photography)

After the marathon bombings, many people signed their dedication to the city in ink—permanently. This inspired local photographer Christopher Padgett to start “Bled for Boston,” a collection of photos of people’s Boston-themed tattoos. A gallery of these photos is currently on view at the Boston Center for Adult Education (open through the end of April), and the book is available on Blurb.


Remember Boston: The Boston Marathon Bombing Memorials by Douglas Potoksky (Photography)

A small press in Whately, Mass., Green Circle just released a book of photos by Douglas Potoksky, who documented the memorial formed in Copley Square after the marathon bombings. A selection of these items from the memorial are currently on display at the Boston Public Library.

$40, Green Circle Press,

Twice as Strong: 12 Seconds, 2 Brothers and the Marathon That Changed Their Lives by Joseph Paul Norden, Paul Norden, David Smitherman

Brothers J.P. and Paul Norden’s new book shares the story of their recovery after both being injured in the marathon bombings (they each lost their right leg and now have prosthetics). The story focuses on family and recovery, and was cowritten by David Smitherman.

$26, Palari Publishing,

The 27th Mile edited by Ray Charbonneau

A collection of stories by “writers who run” (blogger-runners, editor-runners, etc.), The 27th Mile will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and (they hope) it will make you want to, well, run.


And, debuting later in 2014…

Boston Strong by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge

“Too soon!” was the phrase of the day when news broke that this book had been optioned by The Fighter screenwriters. And not just for the public. At the time (July 2013), nary a concept was in sight for the forthcoming book. Since then, Sherman and Wedge wrote a piece for Esquire in January, “The Way Back,” an emotional story about the “Boston’s Heroes” cruise, perhaps a taste of what to expect from Boston Strong.

University Press of New England,