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The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to…
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The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

by Lawrence Wright

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,545643,661 (4.29)75
  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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English (62)  German (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
The Looming Tower definitely deserved its Pulitzer Prize. I have read a few post 9/11 histories and some are better than others. Lawrence Wright has put together a very solid piece, with what was, for me, new information.

Wright does a great job of puling biographies of four men together to really paint a picture the evolution and eventual fact of the 9/11 disaster. He starts with Sayyid Qatb, a repressed Egyptian Muslim who is the philosophical underpinning of one of the key figures in 9/11, Ayman al-Zawahiri. He also does a great job of telling the life story Zawahiri, another repressed fanatic, who was tortured in jail after his organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, was involved in the assassination of Anwar Sadat for this secular government and repression of religious fanatics. And finally, John O’Neill, the obsessed playboy FBI agent who was the lead investigator in the Cole explosion and knew something big was going to happen with Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

This work is a crucifixion of the internecine warfare among American law enforcement and intelligence agencies tasked with protecting America with their turf warfare and lack of information sharing. It is beyond painfully clear that bureaucracy, jealously, and ineptitude not only contributed to 9/11, but ensured that it would happen. And it also paints a dim psychological portrait of the men behind the 9/11 attack and their perversion of the Muslim religion to suit their own warped worldview. The mostly subtle psychology of terrorism, at least terrorism among this group, is believable and frightening. Frightening, because such previsions can be so successfully persuasive among those who would follow their lead.

This is a solid work on some of the background the root factors leading up the 9/11 and highly recommended.
( )
  DougBaker | Jul 24, 2019 |
Wherever you are, death will find you, even in the looming tower.

Such is from the Koran. Apparently, Mr. bin Laden quoted it a number of times. We know this from an interview -- or interrogation. Most of this book has a similar source. It obviously isn't scholarly,largely journalistic. Its thematic is a group of people who to survive had to avoid a paper trail. Last week I was reading an article in the LRB about the rise of Jihadism in Syria. The author of the piece cited Mr. Wright's book as the authoritative history of al-Qaeda. (BTW the fundamentalists were invited and encouraged by Al-Assad, who believed he could control them and their presence would destabilize US operations in Iraq). I wasn't yet primed to get off my ass and read the work. Laurence Wright himself was then on PBS Newshour late last week discussing his play about the Camp David Accords. That's it, I said, call me a mystic, it was written in the stars. I read Looming Tower essentially in 24 hours. It is not cumbersome prose. It is both grim and fascinating. That first element lingers as the conditions which fostered such are likely to stay.

I feel that [b:The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East|52142|The Great War for Civilisation The Conquest of the Middle East|Robert Fisk|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388201715s/52142.jpg|1738276] is the much more comprehensive work, though one concerned with the region less than the specific organization. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Great,in-depth reporting byLaurence Wright. Insights that we should always keep in mind when government bureaucracies are involved. an important history. ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Dec 17, 2018 |
Thorough examination of the Arab world & the key players who dreamed, planned and executed 9-11. Thoughtful treatment of the Islamic faith and its many threads - esp those that develop into radical fronts like al-Quaeda- so in depth readers may get bogged down/ lost in the myriad of details of Saudi politics, family and religious fatwas, etc. I found myself wanting to read more about the key American authorities - felt a bit rushed in those chapters. In spite of this, I found the author did a masterful job tracing the many threads that eventually lead up to the 9-11 attack. It's clear that his own examination of the historical, geo-political and religious events is trying to answer the question many stunned Americans asked: How did we come to this- attacks on our own soil?
Picked up the book to read after watching the very well done Hulu series with the same name. ( )
  BDartnall | Oct 28, 2018 |
What is sad about reading this book is that there were so many failures by every American agency that 3,000 people died and we have been at war for 17 years because of these failures. Basically 9/11 could have been prevented and probably should have. This book tells that story. ( )
  foof2you | Oct 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (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)
 

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037541486X, Hardcover)

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.

Brilliantly conceived and written, The Looming Tower draws all elements of the story into a galvanizing narrative that adds immeasurably to our understanding of how we arrived at September 11, 2001. The richness of its new information, and the depth of its perceptions, can help us deal more wisely and effectively with the continuing terrorist threat.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Explores both the American and Arab sides of the September 11th terrorist attacks in an account of the people, ideas, events, and intelligence failures that led to the attacks.

» see all 8 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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