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The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (2006)

by Lawrence Wright

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,429793,697 (4.29)84
A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI's counterterrorism chief, John O'Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal. As these lives unfold, we see revealed: the crosscurrents of modern Islam that helped to radicalize Zawahiri and bin Laden . . . the birth of al-Qaeda and its unsteady development into an organization capable of the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on the USS Cole . . . O'Neill's heroic efforts to track al-Qaeda before 9/11, and his tragic death in the World Trade towers . . . Prince Turki's transformation from bin Laden's ally to his enemy . . . the failures of the FBI, CIA, and NSA to share intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks. The Looming Tower broadens and deepens our knowledge of these signal events by taking us behind the scenes. Here is Sayyid Qutb, founder of the modern Islamist movement, lonely and despairing as he meets Western culture up close in 1940s America; the privileged childhoods of bin Laden and Zawahiri; family life in the al-Qaeda compounds of Sudan and Afghanistan; O'Neill's high-wire act in balancing his all-consuming career with his equally entangling personal life-he was living with three women, each of them unaware of the others' existence-and the nitty-gritty of turf battles among U.S. intelligence agencies.… (more)
  1. 40
    102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer (peacemover)
    peacemover: Now that you have read who is behind 9/11 and why they did it, now read about the people in the towers- where they came from, and their struggles to survive.
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» See also 84 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Very indepth reporting witha lot of background; book was a bit too detailed in parts ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Dec 1, 2023 |
The terrible tragic story of the development of modern Islamic terrorism, the results of poor communication between the CIA and the FBI, and the consequences we can obtain when ignorance and cruelty are combined with some widely held delusion. The ending is abrupt and makes the account even more tragic. The book was published in 2006, five years before OBL caught his. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Det här är en banbrytande skildring av människorna och idéerna, terroristplanerna och västerlandets misslyckanden som kulminerade med angreppet på USA. Lawrence Wrights bok är baserad på fem års research och hundratals intervjuer som han gjort i Egypten, Saudiarabien, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, Frankrike, Tyskland, Spanien och USA. ”al-Qaida och vägen till den 11 september” utgår från fyra män, vars liv och gärningar korsas: de två al-Qaida-ledarna Usama bin Laden och Ayman al-Zawahiri, FBI:s antiterrorchef John O’Neill och den förra ledaren för den saudiska underrättelsetjänsten, prins Turki al-Faisal. Författaren gräver djupt och analyserar skickligt sitt material. Allt eftersom avslöjas motströmningen inom islam som hjälpte till att radikalisera bin Laden och Zawahiri, al-Qaidas födelse, O’Neills hjältemodiga ansträngningar för att spåra al-Qaida före den 11 september och hans tragiska död i World Trade Center. Wright skildrar även FBI:s, CIA:s och NSA:s misslyckande att kommunicera om information som skulle kunna ha hindrat 11 september-attacken.
  CalleFriden | Feb 16, 2023 |
It has taken me this long to read any non-fiction books at all about 9/11, because I needed the distance from my memories of the actual event. I knew from living through it the basic facts of what happened on that day, but this book filled in a lot of holes about the months and years leading up to it. Well written and engaging, this book follows the history of al-Qaeda from its earliest days, explaining well the motivations and beliefs of both the leaders and the footsoldiers. It’s really terrifying to read about how much hate some people can hold inside of them for an entire lifetime, and even scarier because Trump has engaged similar people in the US today. Though disturbing, upsetting and at times heart-wrenching, this is a very good book. ( )
1 vote Anniik | Nov 26, 2022 |
Quando achávamos que o fim da Guerra Fria marcava o "fim da história" e a humanidade enfim viveria em paz, o atentado terrorista de 11/9 - o maior de todos os tempos - mergulhava o mundo em perplexidade. De repente, tomamos conhecimento de entidades e personagens até então desconhecidos: a Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, os campos de treinamento de terroristas no Afeganistão. Mas o que é a Al-Qaeda? Como surgiu? Aonde pretende chegar? Qual sua ideologia? Qual o papel dos serviços de inteligência americanos no caso? São estas perguntas que Lawrence Wright, através de um monumental trabalho de jornalismo investigativo (cinco anos de pesquisas e centenas de entrevistas no Oriente Médio, África, Europa e Estados Unidos), procura esclarecer neste livro exemplar. - 10 semanas na lista de best-sellers do New York Times;- Finalista do National Book Award 2006;- Segundo melhor livro de 2006 - Revista Time;- Um dos cinco melhores livros de não-ficção de 2006 - The New York Times Sunday Book ReviewEste e-book não contém as imagens presentes na edição impressa.
  bibliotecapresmil | Sep 8, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
A narrator doesn’t just tell a story; he keeps the listener company. Alan Sklar is good company—with a voice so distinctive that a blind man could pick him out from across the room.
added by readysetgo | editAudiofile Magazine (Feb 1, 2007)
 
Wright, a New Yorker writer, brings exhaustive research and delightful prose to one of the best books yet on the history of terrorism.
added by readysetgo | editPublishers Weekly (Aug 6, 2006)
 
In the nearly five years since the attacks, we’ve heard oceans of commentary on the whys and how-comes and what-it-means and what’s nexts. Wright, a staff writer for The New Yorker — where portions of this book have appeared — has put his boots on the ground in the hard places, conducted the interviews and done the sleuthing. Others talked, he listened. And so he has unearthed an astonishing amount of detail about Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Muhammad Omar and all the rest of them. They come alive.
 
Mr. Wright’s book, based on more than 500 interviews — ranging from Mr. bin Laden’s best friend in college, Jamal Khalifa, to Yosri Fouda, a reporter for Al Jazeera, to Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism chief — gives the reader a searing view of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, a view that is at once wrenchingly intimate and boldly sweeping in its historical perspective.
added by readysetgo | editNew York Times, Michiko Kakutani (Aug 1, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence Wrightprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sjögren, ÖrjanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sklar, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI's counterterrorism chief, John O'Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal. As these lives unfold, we see revealed: the crosscurrents of modern Islam that helped to radicalize Zawahiri and bin Laden . . . the birth of al-Qaeda and its unsteady development into an organization capable of the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on the USS Cole . . . O'Neill's heroic efforts to track al-Qaeda before 9/11, and his tragic death in the World Trade towers . . . Prince Turki's transformation from bin Laden's ally to his enemy . . . the failures of the FBI, CIA, and NSA to share intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks. The Looming Tower broadens and deepens our knowledge of these signal events by taking us behind the scenes. Here is Sayyid Qutb, founder of the modern Islamist movement, lonely and despairing as he meets Western culture up close in 1940s America; the privileged childhoods of bin Laden and Zawahiri; family life in the al-Qaeda compounds of Sudan and Afghanistan; O'Neill's high-wire act in balancing his all-consuming career with his equally entangling personal life-he was living with three women, each of them unaware of the others' existence-and the nitty-gritty of turf battles among U.S. intelligence agencies.

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Penguin Australia

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