I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is an excellent story that brings the events leading up to 9/11 into human focus. This is a story of people, not politics and individuals not technology. It examines the terrorists and western intelligence agents all as human beings focusing on their fluid motivations and goals along with both strengths and limitations. This is a down to earth analysis of the factors and people that lead to 9/11. It does not cast blame or propose solutions, it just tells the story. Although it is not a perfect book it fills a gap that definitely needed filling. The book is not for everyone as it is not a ???big picture??? story, but instead it focuses on the details of relationships and events.
This is thoroughly engrossing and compelling read, tracing the origins of al Qaeda from its philosophical founding through to the overthrow of the Taliban. Rich with details, the pacing nonetheless never lags - lets call it a non-fiction thriller. There are lots of interesting bits throughout but what really surprised me was were the numerous occasions where what we now call al Qaeda might never have come to be if not for some combination of luck, timing, or inadvertent consequences. Easily, OBL or his organization might have faded into obscurity on more than a few occasions - it's amazing that they didn't. Overall, the author does a great job of shepherding the reader through the evolution of al Qaeda and it's prime movers and shakers. As we get closer to 9/11 he also weaves into the narrative the growing awareness of the threat al Qaeda posed to the US and how it began to track this. Fascinating from beginning to end. All in all, a very compelling and entertaining read for anyone who wants a better understanding of the growth of Islamic terrorism and the personalities, players, and their motives.
Comprehensive history of Al Qaeda tracing to its Islamic, Egyptian root, how it was propelled by corrupt and brutal Middle Eastern regimes, fueled by Arab-Israeli conflict, and steered toward its anti-America focus by the charismatic yet quixotic Bin Laden. Shockingly, US had amble clues and leads that would have prevented the 911 attacks only to have faltered because of the intense antagonizing cultures between CIA and FBI. Well researched, and succinctly presented.
Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy
This is a deeply compelling history of radical Islam and the circumstances that led to the events of 9/11. Finally, all the strange-sounding Arabic names that have come up since that day have meaning and context. A very powerful work, which I was sad to see end.
The Looming Tower is well-written, incredibly well-documented, and, if it is possible with such a highly charged subject, well-balanced. 17 hours of audio may seem daunting, but Lawrence Wright is such a gifted story teller that the time just flew by. He brings you inside the discussions of Bin Laden's inner circle and the FBI. This is a must read for every American who is concerned about our future in a world where Islamic Fundamentalism does not differentiate between mass murder and political gain.
I really enjoyed this one, got thru it much faster than usual. Found myself extending my drives and walks to hear more. Wright has obviously done his homework here, as evidenced by the Pulitzer. It's extremely well researched and thought-provoking. The book focuses primarily on the backgrounds and actions of Bin Laden, Zawahiri and John O'Neill and really gets you into the minds of these men. It's sad to hear how stymied the FBI agents were by "The Wall" and CIA in-fighting. Everyone knows how it ends of course, but the journey there was fascinating for me.
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
Author Lawrence Wright, in his Looming Tower, tells the full and complete story of 9/11. The book’s instructions on what occurred, the people involved, his research, presentation and conclusions are a perfect study into history.
Mr. Wright has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. He is also an author, screenwriter, and playwright. In 1993, Wright published a two-part article in the magazine about recovered memories, titled “Remembering Satan,” which won the National Magazine Award and the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Journalism. He won another National Magazine Award for his 2011 profile of Paul Haggis, “The Apostate.” That article became a part of his most recent book, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” (2013). His history of al-Qaeda, “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” (2006), was translated into twenty-four languages and won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Parts of that book originally appeared in The New Yorker, including a Profile of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al-Qaeda, which won the 2002 Overseas Press Club Award for magazine reporting.
Given those credentials one would expect nothing but the best, and the reading delivers just that.
A history of Islamic fundamentalism.
An empathetic, but not sympathetic window in to the minds of terrorists.
An answer to the question of how it was allowed to happen.
A heart-achingly sad tale of incredible coincidence and horrific destruction.
All told in very readable (listenable), concise and unemotional clarity by the author.
Perfectly read by a great narrator.
This book is an excellent and thorough history of the roots of Al Qaeda. An exploration of the roots of evil starting in the 1940's. It gives great insight into the Islamist movement. Though it is lengthy, it is so interesting that it reads quite quickly.
Say something about yourself!
An informative, detailed account of some of the key events leading up to 9/11 and some of the personalities behind al-Queada and within the US Intelligence community. The portraits of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri, and various other al-Quaeda principals helps humanize these men and, in the process, makes their actions seem (if possible) even more horrific. One finds oneself asking what went wrong to cause relatively comfortable and educated human beings to plan and carry out mass murder on a global scale. Wright clearly, and correctly, points to absolutist ideology as a primary cause; a conviction that a particular set of beliefs represents universal truth that cannot withstand the presence (anywhere, ultimately) of people who believe differently to any degree. Al-Queada, of course, is only a more recent incarnation of this age-old cause of human suffering.
The book also casts blame on the US Government for emboldening al-Quaeda and failing to correctly interpret intelligence data, focusing primarily on petty infighting within and between various intelligence agencies and blundering misapplications of US military power. Especially in these areas, Wright sometimes appears to suffer from a certain amount of hindsight bias, though this is a minor distraction in an overall noteworthy book.