The Looming Tower

The Looming Tower

Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Book - 2007
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Random House, Inc.

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

Baker & Taylor
Exploring both the American and Arab sides of the September 11th terrorist attacks interweaves the stories of four men--Al Qaeda leaders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, FBI counterrorism head John O'Neill, and Prince Turki al-Faisal, former chief of Saudi intelligence--in the story of the people, ideas, events, and intelligence failures that led to the attacks. Reprint. 150,000 first printing.

& Taylor

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 tragedies.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2007
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed
ISBN: 9781400030842
Characteristics: [xi], 540 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 21 cm


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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.

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!

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.

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.

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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