The Looming Tower

The Looming Tower

Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Book - 2007
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This Pulitzer Prize winner is the basis for the upcoming Hulu series starring Peter Sarsgaard, Jeff Daniels, and Tahar Rahim.

A gripping narrative that spans five decades, The Looming Tower explains in unprecedented detail the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence failures that culminated in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Lawrence Wright re-creates firsthand the transformation of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri from incompetent and idealistic soldiers in Afghanistan to leaders of the most successful terrorist group in history. He follows FBI counterterrorism chief John O'Neill as he uncovers the emerging danger from al-Qaeda in the 1990s and struggles to track this new threat. Packed with new information and a deep historical perspective, The Looming Tower is the definitive history of the long road to September 11.

National Book Award Finalist
Updated and with a New Afterword

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, c2007.
ISBN: 9781400030842
1400030846
9780375414862
Characteristics: [xi], 540 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps ;,21 cm.

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a
artlaflamme
Jul 22, 2018

It's easy to say, "The book was better."
It is.
We talk of this global war on terror, when it isn't. Here, Lawrence Wright well-researches and explains the long, slow journey across the desert sands, from the emergence of oil, through the creation of the Kingdom of Saud, to the rise of Western influence and culture, and the impact this has not just on Sunni internal conflicts over the fate of the faith and faithful, but of their angst over their position in this world and even their standing with the Shi'a and others.
Wright does well in explaining that bin Laden wasn't some masterful tactician, some critically important commander the US faced. He explains - carefully, in detail, and with thorough sourcing - that bin Laden had faith and resources, and conviction to act on both.
Wright was awarded the Pulitzer for this, for a clear reason - it's that good.
Make time for this - over binge watching more TV.

BookReviewer2015 Jun 28, 2018

An excellent and well researched book that explains how and why 9/11 happened. Really gets at the root of it all. Check out the recent Hulu miniseries too.

BklynAmyM Aug 30, 2016

Anyone struggling to understand developments in the Middle East should add this to your "must read" list. Although the characters, events and circumstances pile up at an overwhelming rate, this history of terrorism from New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright is an achievement of narrative nonfiction.

Aw_19 Jun 10, 2016

Excellent book. The author did an impressive amount of researching and interview of principal participants in the events leading up to 9/11. This work provides an insightful perspective on how such a horrific tragedy was possible. It's also quite compelling written. Highly recommended.

s
StarGladiator
Jul 17, 2013

"...the failures of the FBI, CIA, and NSA to share intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks." I have some major problems with this book, in fact, many major problems with it. First, what separates those "failures" from what exists today: full spectrum domestic surveillance - - yet, we still have major crime and organized crime in America - - yet, they still claim they don't "have enough" to go after the banksters, and on and on and on, and so it goes. "..he (O'Neill) was living with three women, each of them unaware of the others' existence." Sure, we can trust everything O'Neill was involved with???? This book just sounds like the stringing together of all the official "conspiracy theories" - - but since Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush were proven wrong, what are we really to believe? Certainly not Prince Turki al-Faisal, of Saudi Arabia, when at least 15 of the 19 (and in all probability, given the false Yemeni passports, all 19 of 19) hijackers came from his country, Saudi Arabia!

m
Myusernamenotyours
Jul 16, 2013

Must-read. Lawrence Wright's journalism skills, narrative skills, and fact-checking skills combine to tell a highly readable and highly educational story of some of the more nefarious Muslim hate-filled nutjobs of late and how some of them got that way. America's sacred separation of church and state is the opposite of Islamists who want their countries run not by informed democracies but by guys (never women) who want religious homogeneity, and after reading this book, you will realize why separation of church and state is so crucial to a free and enlightened democratic republic. Yes, the story of the Islamic nutjobs in Looming Towers is the same sad story as a number of world religions that have wormholed through the short history of our earth's civilization -- often by death and murder -- but Looming Towers tells the reader all about the current Gestapo: intolerant Islamists.

voisjoe1 Mar 20, 2012

A great study of the men who flew planes into the buildings in the 9/11 attacks. Plus a tale of those men that sent them and those men who almost broke up the plot.

debwalker Feb 08, 2011

Suggests that Mubarak's torture cells radicalized Egyptian Islamists.

a
adhivul1
Jun 17, 2010

excellent bk, explaining where, geographically, psychologically and ideologically Osama bin-laden comes from and is particularly good on the background the Egyptians who influenced him so thoroughly. I always thought he was rich, which he was at the beginning, but he was thoroughly fleeced in Somalia and for a time in Afghanistan was really poor.
it is also good on detailing the American intelligence community, the FBI, CIA and others (who it turns out where not very intelligent) and how they messed up so 9/11 succeeded even beyond Osama's expectations.

c
crowpluto
Sep 07, 2006

This is a facinating book that is, in parts, can't-put-down good. Especially once you get past the early chapters on historical Muslim thinkers, the origins of Al Queda - from early warnings to Afghanistan and on - is great reading. Highly recommended, but only if you've got some time.

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