Happy Book Birthday to Kimberly J. Brown’s Memoir

Book Birthdays celebrate one year of a book’s life in tweets, reviews, and more. This month we are saying Happy First Book Birthday to The I-35W Bridge Collapse by Kimberly J. Brown.


About the Book:

“A bridge shouldn’t just fall down,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said after the August 1, 2007, collapse of the Minneapolis I-35W eight-lane steel truss bridge, which killed 13 motorists, injured 145, and left a collective wound on the city’s psyche and infrastructure.

On her way to a soccer game with a fellow teammate, Kimberly J. Brown experienced the collapse firsthand, falling 114 feet in her teammate’s car to the Mississippi River. Although terrified, injured, and in shock, she survived. In this sobering memoir and exposé, Brown recounts her harrowing experience.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Brown became both an advocate for survivors and an unofficial whistle-blower about decaying infrastructure. She details her investigation and correspondence with Thornton Tomasetti engineers, including the false official account of the collapse and the eventual revelation of its real causes. In addition, she chronicles the ongoing decay of America’s bridges and the continuing challenges faced by leaders to address infrastructure problems across the country.

After nearly a decade of research into the collapse and her active and ongoing recovery from psychic and physical injuries, Brown shares her experience and answers the questions we should all be asking: Why did this bridge collapse? And what could have been done to prevent this tragedy?

Media Mentions:

“Amid her firsthand account of survival and recovery, Brown weaves in tales about her quest to learn the real reason the bridge fell. She read countless documents and inspection reports and consulted with bridge experts. She discovered that bent gusset plates and design error, the original reasons given for the collapse, weren’t the full story. Rusted bearings and a failed superstructure contributed to the collapse. In case you don’t know what that means, the IT technical writer boils down the complex subject of bridge construction and their components and presents them in terms that an average citizen can understand.”— StarTribune

“In her riveting memoir The I-35W Bridge Collapse: A Survivor’s Account of American’s Crumbling Infrastructure, Brown combines her personal story with clear technical explanations of how bridges are constructed and inspectors’ reports that were not acted on.”— TwinCities.com

“On that day, Aug. 1, 2007, 13 people died and 145 were injured in a bridge failure no one could really comprehend. Every single person on the bridge that survived has a story. Every person who didn’t make it has one, too. This month, Kimberly J. Brown began telling her story in a new way.”— Kare11

“When the book launched in summer of 2018, during Q&A, a member of the audience stood and took the microphone. He was a bridge engineer. He said, ‘Thank you for writing this book because those in the civil engineering community are afraid to speak out against the NTSB’… by telling my story, my aim was to illuminate the path toward recovery, to repair from the consequences of trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt. That day, in 13 seconds, 145 people were injured and 13 people died. It is my hope that with knowledge, we can prevent unnecessary future injury and loss of life.”— TheFriends.org

On the blog:


  • 2019 Minnesota Book Award Finalist in Memoir & Creative Nonfiction

On Goodreads:

On Twitter:

A Word from the Author:

The awe, gratitude, and excitement I felt when my book arrived was the most overwhelmingly joyous moment. Now, my book celebrates it’s first birthday and let me say, I couldn’t be more proud to be a Potomac Books author. I’m so grateful to the UNP staff for all they have done to bring my story and the story of our decaying infrastructure (that isn’t too late to save) to the world.


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