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
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
al-Qaeda: incite the uninsightful. More proof to the power of proper education
A LOT of research clearly went into this book. Although it's full of mountains of information (at times you question how in the world he even got such privy information), it's (mostly) an incredibly page turning book.
It can obviously be upsetting to read, especially when you realize just how baseless al-Qaeda's reasoning is for their anti-western/U.S. beliefs. It's also upsetting, though, to see just how bureaucratic, pompous, and prideful our government agencies (nameley the CIA, according to this book) were leading up to 9/11 and prior attacks. A real eye-opener.
For the most part, the author seems to remain unbiased throughout the book, which I can only imagine is a very difficult task. Definitely recommend.
I starred to watch Hulu “The Looming Towers” then got book. Both are great but enjoyed book better!
A masterpiece of research. I feel that I have a better understanding of the dynamics of Islamic extremism.
There are even more facets of this tragic story unfolding now in Syria, Africa, Lebanon,and Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Let us hope that the moderate clerics will prevail.
William Fears, M.D.