THE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING BESTSELLER, NOW A MAJOR NEW TV SERIES
This is the definitive account of the run-up to 9/11: from the man who lit the spark of radical Islam in 1948, to those who built up a terror network, and to the FBI agent whose warnings of 'something big' coming were ignored until the Twin Towers fell.
'The Looming Tower is a thriller. And it's a tragedy, too' The New York Times
'The most detailed (and thrilling) account we have of the events that led to the destruction of the Twin Towers' Observer, Books of the Year
'Possibly the best book yet written on the rise of al-Qaeda ... beautifully written and wonderfully compelling' William Dalrymple
'We meet some formidable schemers and killers ... fabulists crazed with blood and death' Martin Amis
Wright, a New Yorker writer, brings exhaustive research and delightful prose to one of the best books yet on the history of terrorism. He begins with the observation that, despite an impressive record of terror and assassination, post WWarII, Islamic militants failed to establish theocracies in any Arab country. Many helped Afghanistan resist the Russian invasion of 1979 before their unemployed warriors stepped up efforts at home. Al-Qaeda, formed in Afghanistan in 1988 and led by Osama bin Laden, pursued a different agenda, blaming America for Islam's problems. Less wealthy than believed, bin Laden's talents lay in organization and PR, Wright asserts. Ten years later, bin Laden blew up U.S. embassies in Africa and the destroyer Cole, opening the floodgates of money and recruits. Wright's step-by-step description of these attacks reveals that planning terror is a sloppy business, leaving a trail of clues that, in the case of 9/11, raised many suspicions among individuals in the FBI, CIA and NSA. Wright shows that 9/11 could have been prevented if those agencies had worked together. As a fugitive, bin Ladin's days as a terror mastermind may be past, but his success has spawned swarms of imitators. This is an important, gripping and profoundly disheartening book.