by Lawrence Wright
"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." (From the CD container)
The first I'd heard of The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 was when I was scanning the audiobook section of the library. It caught my eye, but I left without it. The next day I heard about Newsweek's 50 Books For Our Times, and there it was at #2. There was no resisting after that.
If you're looking for a very readable book that fills you in on the backstory of the horrific events of 9/11, this is the one. As a friend of mine said, it explains a lot of events and discusses many people that we've heard about but maybe didn't really understand the significance of.
Lawrence Wright talks about the early Islamic Fundamentalists and their lives. He shows you Bin Laden's childhood. He takes you into the homes of Jihadists, into terrorist training camps. You'll sit in on meetings between the CIA and FBI agents who are learning about Al-Qaeda for the first time, and follow the career of a man who ceaselessly hunted Bin Laden until his own death on that ill-fated day in the World Trade Center.
What I liked best about this book aside from it's accessibility was that Wright did not point fingers of blame. He points out mistakes that were made, some very arrogant and bone-headed, but he also explains the complexity of the situations being dealt with. I can see how The Looming Tower earned it's spot on Newsweek's list.
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!