Author: Lawrence Wright
tl;dr: This is the best book I’ve read. It scores highest at the nexus of most informative and page turner.
Soup to nuts account of how 9/11 came to be. Starting with Sayyid Qutb, whose writing sparked the movement. To the history of the Bin Laden Group in Saudi Arabia. Through to the rise of Al-Qaeda.
The book also details how the CIA and FBI were basically running parallel investigations into the group, and how if they coordinated could have been able to stop it.
Sadly the sequel The Terror Years was less than spectacular. Half the book is recanting Looming Tower, the other half fails to document the rise of Zarqawi which is the natural progression.
One piece of poetic justice - the book focuses on John O’Neill, an FBI agent who devoted much of his life to tracking Bin Laden. He left the FBI in August, 2001 to become… the head of security for the WTC. He died in the attacks helping evacuate people. The man who killed Bin Laden, Rob O’Neill (though no relation).
Amazon: The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
First published on May 23, 2020