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The Looming Tower Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

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 US 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.

©2006 Lawrence Wright (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"A searing view of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a view that is at once wrenchingly intimate and boldly sweeping in its historical perspective...a narrative history that possesses all the immediacy and emotional power of a novel, an account that indelibly illustrates how the political and the personal, the public and the private were often inextricably intertwined." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

"Important, gripping...One of the best books yet on the history of terrorism." (Publishers Weekly)

"Comprehensive and compelling...Wright has written what must be considered a definitive work on the antecedents to 9/11...Essential for an understanding of that dreadful day." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Josh 10-05-17
    Josh 10-05-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Supremely thorough and interesting"

    Do not give up on this Audiobook just because it starts slowly. It is a remarkable work by Lawrence Wright and he does an admirable job narrating it as well given his lack of experience. The failures to communicate by the CIA and FBI are atrocious but Wright does a terrific job explaining this in terms any reader or listener can understand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert N. Driscoll Highland Park, NJ USA 07-16-17
    Robert N. Driscoll Highland Park, NJ USA 07-16-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic"

    Thorough but still engaging, I learned much about the history of Al Qaeda and US attempts to track it pre 9/11.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • UGA Fan
    10/31/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Required Reading (Listening!)"

    This is Al Qa’ida 101, absolute definitive account of the emergence of Usama Bin Laden and AQ. I found the background on Sayyid Qutb and the emergence of political Islam particularly illuminating. Lawrence’s account of 9/11 was harrowing, a very emotional reading that had me tearing up as I listened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris N.
    9/13/17
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    "Great stuff.. Detailed and gripping."

    . Heart breaking catalogue of Bureaucratic hostility between the CIA and FBI And more....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Loughlin
    8/6/17
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    "Fascinating"

    Expected nothing less than brilliance from this book mainly because of the author's rep. He delivers. A really insightful and thought provoking study of Bin laden and Al Qaeda.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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