Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. This sweeping narrative history of 9/11 includes important new information about the people, ideas, events, and intelligence failures that culminated in the attacks, told for the first time from both the American and Arab sides of the story.
What a story it is. And what a riveting tale Lawrence Wright fashions in this marvelous book. The Looming Tower is not just a detailed, heart-stopping account of the events leading up to 9/11, written with style and verve, and carried along by villains and heroes that only a crime novelist could dream up. It’s an education, too—though you’d never know it—a thoughtful examination of the world that produced the men who brought us 9/11, and of their progeny who bedevil us today.
...a book filled with dazzling insight, pitch-perfect anecdotes, and compelling context. Simply put, this is the most thorough and accessible account of the people, politics, and roiling theology behind Islamic terrorism. It should be required reading for every American; yes, it is that good ... It is hard to imagine a better portrait of 9/11 and its causes emerging anytime soon.
One of the darker choruses of this excellent work of journalism is the success that three of those allied governments, the Saudi Arabian, Pakistani and Egyptian, have had in diverting the fundamentalist warriors away from their original prime target – them – and towards the West ... Though Wright never avoids bin Laden’s responsibility for the deaths of thousands of civilians, his portrait of the master terrorist is oddly engaging. Where Zawahiri comes across as a cold, treacherous, jealous exploiter of others, bin Laden is vain, naive, generous and idealistic – which, combined with the fact that he is a mass murderer, makes him the more sinister character ... For all O’Neill’s foresight, I get the feeling that Wright chose to follow the thread of his tragedy more for the sake of a readable, oppositional narrative than because O’Neill genuinely sat facing bin Laden across the chessboard of global terrorism, his counter-terror counterpart.