The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda's Road to 9/11

The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda's Road to 9/11

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By (author) Lawrence Wright

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 576 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 36mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 6 September 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0141029358
  • ISBN 13: 9780141029351
  • Illustrations note: 8 B&W Inset
  • Sales rank: 17,175

Product description

Brilliantly written, compelling and highly original, "The Looming Tower" is the first book to tell the full story of Al Qaeda from its roots up to 9/11. Drawing on astonishing interviews and first-hand sources, it investigates the extraordinary group of idealogues behind this organization - and those who tried to stop them. There is the tormented, resentful Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, who was horrified by the godlessness and decadence he perceived in America in 1948, and whose subsequent writings turned him into a martyr for Islamic extremists. There is Ayman al-Zawahiri: a devout student who, by the age of fifteen, had already helped to form an underground jihadist cell. There is the deeply contradictory Osama bin Laden: Saudi multimillionaire turned muhajideen commander, whose interests merged with al-Zawahiri's to form a global terror coalition. And there is the FBI's counterterrorism chief, the flamboyant, cigar-smoking John O'Neill, who found his warnings that 'something big' was coming continually ignored, and would finally meet his fate in the shadow of the Twin Towers. Interweaving this extraordinary story with events including the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the first attack on the World Trade Center, Lawrence Wright takes us into training camps, mountain hideouts and top secret meetings to explore how it all fed into the planning and execution of 9/11 - and reveals the real, complex origins of Al Qaeda's hatred of the West. Wright's brilliantly acclaimed book now includes a new Afterword which covers events that have unfolded since publication, including the death of Osama Bin Laden.

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Author information

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for the New Yorker and a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. He is the author of Twins and Remembering Satan, and the co-writer of the movie The Siege.

Review quote

Wright's brilliantly constructed narrative is head and shoulders above the rest. He knows important parts of the Muslim world (including Saudi Arabia) at first hand, he understands the motors of Islamist militancy ... Moreover, he is a fine writer with an eye for the telling detail. Even those who think they know the story intimately will feel they are reading it anew New Statesman One of the best and most important books of recent years. A masterful combination of reporting and writing -- Dan Rather Lawrence Wright's integrity and diligence as a reporter shine through every page of this riveting narrative -- Robert Caro