Tuesday, June 25, 2013

“The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright – The Rise of Al-Qaeda and Fall of the Towers

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright - book cover
After the tragic events of 9/11 took place, pretty much everyone became focused on the direct cause and the aftermath, and it was quite understandable as the time wasn’t right for a history lesson.

However, years after when things began to calm down in the United States many people started digging as deep as possible so as to uncover the whole story behind 9/11, in terms of what actually sparked the chain of events that led to it. Lawrence Wright was one of those people, and he actually traced the beginning of it all to more than five decades ago, and he details everything in his book, The Looming Tower.

The book begins right at the start of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, exploring the social and cultural significance of such a movement, especially in the face of modernization from the West. From there on out, he explores the politics of the Middle East, going to the creation of Al-Qaeda, specifically focusing on two soldiers: Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden. Their lives are retraced from their enrollment as highly idealistic soldiers all the way to their ascension to the top of the world’s most well-known terrorist organization.

Following that, Wright takes a good look at John O’Neill, the chief of counter-terrorism at the FBI, who marked Al-Qaeda as an emerging threat during the nineties. Finally, it all culminates in the grand tragedy of what is now and shall forever be known as 9/11.

I have to say that in the face of so many books dealing with conspiracy theories reading one about the events which led to the act of terrorism was quite refreshing, especially in the sense that very few questions are left unanswered. Naturally, you aren’t going to get any definitive answers on whether 9/11 was an inside job or not, but what the author does well is provide you with plenty of context, allowing you to actually see and understand why 9/11 happened in the first place. The facts provided are all completely verified and trustworthy, with many of them being unheard of, for me at least, until I read this.

To conclude, I can safely say that The Looming Tower is definitive chronicle of the events that led up to 9/11, and reading it from start to finish will give you a crystal clear picture of what happened, and more importantly, why. If 9/11 is a subject of interest for you, then you simply cannot afford to pass up on this book.


Lawrence Wright (August 2, 1947)

Lawrence Wright


Personal site

Lawrence Wright is an American screenwriter, staff writer for The New Yorker, and an author who has the distinction of having won the Pulitzer Prize. His best-known work of writing remains to this day his 2006 book, The Looming Tower, which delved into the events that led up to 9/11.

More of the Lawrence Wright's book reviews:
Going Clear

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